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New Irish bill, mandating reporting of abuse, renews concerns about confessional seal

Catholic World News - April 15, 2014

The Irish government has published the Children First Bill, which requires professionals—including members of the clergy—to report any concerns about child abuse to appropriate law-enforcement authorities.

Frances Fitzgerald, the government’s minister for children, said the new legislation would help to establish a “cultural norm” calling for reporting of dangers to children. However, the legislation raises concerns about the protection of the confessional seal.

“The seal of confession takes precedence over everything,” Father Gearoid O Donnchu told the Irish Examiner. “If somebody comes to confession it is with the understanding that what they say is entirely privileged.”

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  • Posted by: garedawg - Apr. 16, 2014 11:01 AM ET USA

    Could the bishops make it known that if a child molester seeks absolution, his penance will be to turn himself into the civil authorities?

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