16 1 min 10 yrs

Wonder what you make of the news that Cardinal Sean Brady has voiced vehement opposition to Irish government plans to criminalise priests who do not report sex abuse admitted in the confessional.

Speaking for the first time on the issue yesterday, the Archbishop of Armagh embarked on a collision course with Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, when he insisted that any intrusion on the sacraments was “a challenge to the very basis of a free society”. Under the legislation, currently being drawn up, a priest would be guilty of a criminal offence if they were told of a sexual abuse case and failed to report it to the civil authorities.

How about if a priest has a murder confessed to him ? What about if a terrorist atrocity is revealed? Does Vatican Canon law have any place in a modern society? What say you/

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16 thoughts on “CONFESS?

  1. This directly touches matters of doctrine, and I don’t know that they need to go there.

    Had they taken action pursuant to those they learned of outside the confessional, the situation would never have become this serious.

    Besides, unless they start taping confessions, how the hell would they be able to prove that a priest was compliant with the policy? Why enact a law that you cannot enforce?

  2. Agreed Phantom. The standards and practices of the Christian church should be the highest in the land, and the Church should send any clergyman or woman guilty of a serious crime to be dealt with by the civic authorities.
    Heaven’s Sake, we’re talking morality here!

  3. In the eyes of the Church, most of their priests and many of their followers, God’s Law is higher than the State’s law. Thus a Priest isn’t going to break the Confessional Seal. This won’t help any sort of law enforcement. This is nothing more than the criminalisation of the Catholic Church. It was a happy day when the Penal Laws were revoked in Ireland. It will be a sad day when they are brought back.

  4. This is foolish for yet another reason-

    If confessed sins are to be reported to the police, no one will confess to anything significant.

  5. The doctrine of privileged commnications (attorney-client, husband-wife, and confessor-penitent) is fairly well established and not based on whim. I imagine that the privilege in the UK extends to religious denominations other than Roman Catholic, and rightly so.

  6. The secondary question is, to my mind, the more important. Offensive and disgusting though child abuse may be, the crime pales into insignificance against the crimes of murder and terrorism; as well as aiding and abetting such terrorism, ascribed by some against a small number of the catholic clergy.

    If the Catholic hierarchy could conceal and conspire with clerical perverts and paeadophiles without much conscience, is it also possible, if not probable, that they also conspire to conceal their support for murderers

    and bombers?

  7. Phantom,
    From the New Testament it would appear that the early church didn’t have a problem with their followers coming under the judgement of the civil authorities..

    I Peter 2:20
    New International Version (©1984)
    But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

    Romans 13:1-5

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
    etc. etc.

    No room for “Get out of Jail free” cards for Bishops or Cardinals there, me old china..

  8. Those who commit crimes, esp against children, should be punished. I don’t think that anyone would disagree with that.

    The question at hand is the privileged status of what is said in what is believed to be a holy sacrament of Confession.

    I think that I take the side of the Church in this difficult issue, for reasons stated, and for a number of others, too.

  9. Mike- The irish clergy was pretty consistent in condemning the amoral activity of the IRA. There were certainly examples of jackass priests who supported them, but by and large they were more consistent in condemning the activity. I recall the Archbishop of New York refusing to meet with the NORAID head who was wrongfully made the Grand Marshall of the S. Patrick’s Day parade

  10. Instead of arguing over a silly thing like should or shouldn’t the priest tell the gardai the criminal’s confession the victim’s relatives should apply an Old Testament edict to the PRIEST since knowing about the crime and failing to report it to the authorities makes him an accomplace..

    An eye for an eye.

    Criminal confesses a rape?

    Bend over father!

  11. @ Agit8ed
    I find some difficulty in accepting Romans 13:1-5
    “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
    If one accepts this then one must accept the presence of Gadaffi in Libya and Asssad in Syria. Or does it only apply to Christians?

  12. The law should not mention confession one way or the other. If there is to be mandatory reporting then it applies across the board. A Catholic Priest would have simply to choose jail if it ever became an issue.

  13. EP, there is a question whether Gaddafi in Libya and Asssad in Syria were “authorities”. The term power, in political science, is the ability to influence somebody to do something that he or she would not have done in the first place. So the likes of Gaddafi and Assad can exercise power. A person has authority if he or she has a legitimate right to exercise power. So if a person does not have legitimacy, like Gaddafi in Libya and Asssad in Syria, then they can’t be an authority. So Romans doesn’t apply to them.

  14. English Pensioner,
    It was written when the Roman Empire was heavily into human trafficking -only they were known as slaves in those unenlightened times. Fortunately and eventually the British Empire wiped out slavery… 😉
    St Paul accepted that the Roman Empire was the authority at that time. The Bible also talks about other kings, rulers and empires, as well as false Gods. So according to the Bible Islam would come under that heading….

    The underlying point is this. For a Christian it didn’t matter that they were born or sold into slavery, because they serve and worship a Lord who’s kingdom is eternal, and in a sense, internal. Therefore changing their earthly circumstances was not as important as living their external lives according to their internal beliefs – perhaps a bit like Buddhists.

    Only when the external world authorities want them to do something at variance with their internal beliefs, would they disobey.
    So a Christian knows/believes that the external(what is seen), will eventually pass away, and the eternal (what is unseen) will be revealed.

  15. Henry – Mandatory reporting could still be required of priests who learned of the acts through means other than the confessional, which seems to be a sensible way to address the issue.

  16. I don’t suppose anybody heard the latest news about Cardinal Brady. Seems he’s in trouble again, but all the British and Irish media are ignoring it 😉

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