Australian Law Breaks Seal of Confession in Pedophilia Cases

Juicy Ecumenism | 3/31/2019 | Jayda Wyse
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In Australia there’s controversy over a new law compelling priests to report to police any confessions of child sexual abuse. The Catholic Church, of course, safeguards the sanctity of the confessional.

Having suffered abuse as a child myself, I’m deeply committed to protecting children from horrors, but I believe that violating religious freedom is not the solution.

December - Royal - Commission - Institutional - Responses

In December of 2017, a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Abuse in Australia concluded an investigation of five years. A royal commission is “a body set up by a monarch at the request of a prime minister,” gathered to inquire into any sort of societal matter. During this particular one, the Commission heard 1,300 witness accounts and 8,000 personal accounts spanning 4,000 separate churches. The proceedings resulted in 2,500 allegations and hundreds of cases starting the process of prosecution.

Responding to the findings, Australia passed a law on June 7, going into effect March 31, 2019. It stipulates that any priest who fails to report confessions pertaining to pedophilia can be lawfully prosecuted. Archbishop Christopher Prowse of Canberra and Goulburn released a statement outlining the Catholic Church’s concern for the well-being of children. At the same time, Prowse does not support infringement on the Church’s right to practice its religion. “The government threatens religious freedom by appointing itself an expert on religious practices,” he said, “and by attempting to change the sacrament of Confession while delivering no improvement in the safety of children.” The reasons Prowse gave for continued loss of safety for children included that pedophiles lose the one outlet to confess their crimes for which they are penitent, most offenders hide their crimes anyway and the priests do not know the confessing penitent.

Prowse - Concern - Children - Wider - Catholicism

Prowse’s concern for protecting children is reflected in wider Catholicism. The Church of England published revised guidelines on clergy conduct in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Juicy Ecumenism
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