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Australian bishops: seal of Confession must be protected

August 16, 2017

The Australian Catholic bishops have indicated that they will not accept an infringement on the confessional seal.

“It is a fundamental part of the freedom of religion, and it is recognized in the law of Australia and many other countries,” observed Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, the president of the Australian bishops’ conference, in a brief public statement.

The archbishop was responding to a recommendation from the Australian royal commission on child abuse, which had called for changes in state laws, saying that priests should be required to report child abuse even if it is mentioned in a sacramental confession.

Archbishop Hart made it clear that apart from confessions, “all offenses against children must be reported to the authorities, and we are absolutely committed to doing so.”

 
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  • Posted by: feedback - Aug. 16, 2017 5:17 PM ET USA

    "It is a fundamental part of the freedom of religion" - observed Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne. Actually it's much more than that: the seal of confession is a fundamental part of the integrity of the Catholic Faith. Even in times and places without religious freedom (like in Poland under Soviet communism) the seal of confession has always remained intact.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Aug. 16, 2017 11:53 AM ET USA

    For penitents truly Catholic, the threat of non-absolution until satisfaction is made for the sin ought to be sufficient cause for the penitent to turn himself in.