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Australian lawmaker questions limits of confessional seal in abuse cases

May 20, 2010

An Australian legislator has questioned whether the government should respect the confessional seal in cases involving sexual abuse. Senate Nick Xenophon called for "a debate about the sanctity of the confessional and the role the church has had in relation to information raised about child sexual abuse."


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  • Posted by: Chestertonian - May. 20, 2010 7:39 PM ET USA

    Yes the Seal must remain. What we need to do instead is remind all clergy of the Scripture:" . . . it would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin ." [Luke 17:2 NAB] Yes, God is merciful, but his justice . . . We must do more to prevent the abuse happening in the first place, including dire threats about the peril to the immortal souls of the offenders--and those who protect the offenders.

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2010 7:38 PM ET USA

    I agree with the others, but this is only the first pawn in the game. Hold on Catholics, it's gonna hit. We are all commissioned to martyrdom if necessary, but someone's goin' with me if I'm making my confession and it ain't gonna be the priest.

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2010 7:11 PM ET USA

    The senator should be categorically advised that the only effect of removing legal recognition of the seal of confession would be to throw innocent priests into jail. As far as the duties of confessors are concerned, I presume that they're supposed to advise the penitent on any civil responsibilities that attach to the sins he's confessed.

  • Posted by: happyseaotter8027 - May. 20, 2010 2:17 PM ET USA

    It is my understanding that a priest must protect the confidentiality of the Confessional to the point of martyrhood. I sincerely hope the Church stands her ground on this issue.

  • Posted by: - May. 20, 2010 12:53 PM ET USA

    The confessional seal must remain. This only goes to show how little the secular world understands the Catholic Church.