The Australian government is threatening to pass a law that will arrest and imprison Catholic priests and bishops for “refusing” to violate the seal of the confessional by identifying and reporting people who confess to sins of child sexual abuse according to a recent report:
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has made 85 recommendations into the justice system, including a new criminal offence for failing to report child abuse.
Under the proposed law, Australians could be charged if they know, suspect or should have suspected a child is being molested, and do not go to the police.
That would include members of the clergy who would be breaking the law if they failed to report any abuse divulged to them during confession.
It has triggered a mixed response from the nation’s Catholics.
The plan has the support of one of Australia’s most well-known Catholics, Melbourne priest Father Bob Maguire.
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and that’s what the royal commission is doing,” he said. “In principle, I agree that we should have mandatory reporting, especially in this vexed, vexed, vexed issue of child abuse.”
At the moment, religious confessions are privileged in some parts of Australia, so members of the clergy can refuse to reveal anything that is confessed to them.
Father Bob wants more clarity over how the proposed law would work.
“What can I do? That’s what I want to know. I want the bishops and the royal commission to tell me what to do,” he said.
But he says the recommendations should still be taken seriously, even if they are distasteful to some Catholics.
“Everything should be resubmitted for [redefinition] in the post-modern age. So I want a redefinition of the seal of confession because the one we have now goes back 1,000 years.”
Deep within Melbourne’s CBD is the Caroline Chisholm Library, a Catholic institution with close to 30,000 tomes covering subjects like church history, philosophy and mysticism.
Anthony Krohn is a lawyer from Ballarat who volunteers at the library and thinks breaking the seal of the confessional will not improve reporting on child sex abuse.
“Recidivist and remorseless child abusers are not going to be turning up for confession,” he said.
“If there are people who do turn up who have abused, they’re likely to be in a frame of mind, if the seal of confession is still there, to be open and then get good and sensible and constructive advice.
“The priest and the penitent, and in neither case are they likely to be going to the police and be witnesses for the prosecution.”
Mr Krohn said changing the law would be heavy-handed.
“I don’t think that it would achieve a good that can’t be achieved in another way, and I think that it would drive a wedge between ordinary Catholics’ respect for the law of the land and their faith.”
Some of Australia’s most well-known and highest-ranking clerics have already signalled they would oppose any changes to the privilege around religious confessions.
When asked if he would go to jail to uphold the sanctity of the confessional, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, told ABC Radio Melbourne he would.
Archbishop Hart denied suggestions priests would be above the law.
“I would go to extreme lengths outside of the confessional to make sure that the law was observed,” he said. “But there are some matters which are of a higher order, things to do with God.
“If we leave the seal there, which is the position of the Church … it’s perhaps the only opportunity where a person who’s offended or a child who’s been hurt, can have the opportunity for broader advice and then outside the confessional for appropriate action to the taken.”
But that reaction has been met with dismay and anger from Juliette Hughes-Norwood, a Catholic author from Melbourne’s north.
“At what point do you say you’re doing the right thing by disobeying the laws of the country?” she said. “You already disobeyed the laws of the country when you protected child abusers.”
She wants the law to change.
“Have decency — put children first, put human dignity first not your position.” (source)
I cannot emphasize how serious this is. So let’s put this its proper context in as short an explanation as possible.
As the Gospel of Matthew explains, Christ did not come to abolish the old law of Moses, but he rather came to fulfill and perfect it. This means that the provisions of the old law were brought to their full completion in Christ and, having been restored to their full meaning and purpose, are now practiced as God always wanted them to be practiced. At the same time, it also meant discarding non-theologically rooted disciplines that were no longer necessary or would be hindrances to the propagation of the Gospel. It is the reason why the Catholic Church has always taught that she is the New Israel and the fulfillment of Judaism, for to be a member of Israel is not conditional upon genetics or tribal birth, but about choosing to believe in the Gospels or not. As the veil of the temple was rent asunder when Christ died, so was the barrier to salvation for the whole human race destroyed, opening the way to Heaven for all who would choose to receive Christ and follow Him. The coming of the New Testament did not abrogate the spirit of the law or many of the rituals of the Old Testament, but instead purified the Old Testament. This is why both the Old and New Testaments are read at Mass, and why so many rituals found in the practices of ancient Israel are preserved in the Church today. One of these practices is the forgivness of sins, for whereas in the past sins were confessed once a year, sins are now confessed each time at mass as well as to the priest acting in the person of Christ, which was enjoined by Christ Himself when He gave His disciples the power to forgive sins (John 20:21-23, 2 Corinthians 5:18).
When a man goes to confession, because the priest acts in the person of Christ, he is serving in the role given to the Apostles by Christ Himself. To confess one’s sine to a priest is to confess them to Christ, and as such the matter of sin is explicitly between the person confessing his sins and God. The priest is simply the one to whom Christ gave the grace to carry out this ministry. This is the reason why confessional booths in most Churches throughout history have a wall that blocks the penitent from seeing the priest and vice versa. Likewise, the priest under no circumstances can ever reveal the identity of anybody confessing his sins. This is a sin so serious it incurs automatic excommunication that cannot be removed except by the Pope himself. The sin is so serious that many priests are taught that it is better to go to prison or suffer death than to reveal what is said in the confessional.
Everybody knows there is a problem with “sexual abuse” in all societies. But the government doesn’t care one bit about children who are sexually abused, for if it did, it would look into the massive network of sexual abuse involving children that is well documented among the political and business elite of the UK, Australia, and the USA. At the heart here is a struggle between the government and the Church of a magnitude and seriousness as that of the Protestant Revolution, except this time the struggle is about completely stripping the power of the Church from society and making the Church an absolute vassal of the state. To say that the priest must confess to the government is to say that God does not exist because the state is now god and God is a fictional creation of a man’s imagination. “Helping children” is used as an excuse to lever policy in order to justify more control by those who, as we have been constantly saying, view men as farm animals to be controlled, and ultimately their fight is not for the common good, but for who will get to play the role of farmer.
As far as the priest and the woman cited in this article, they are evil and the causes which they are promoting will drag them to hell by the words of their tongues. People speak of wicked men in the ranks of the Church, yet you are looking at them in this article. These people, either by ignorance or by malice, would attempt to subjugate the laws of God to the will of the state just as the Protestant revolutionaries of old did by destroying the second estate and attempting to create a national religion where worship of God is equivalent to following the government.
Fr. Bob Maguire and Juliette Hughes, from the article above. These are the faces of traitors who would overthrow God in favor of government.
By the way, it is worth mentioning that in the Soviet Union and her satellite states, confessional rooms were bugged many times and priests in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches paid in order to attempt to spy and blackmail people. This would happen in any society where socialism takes over, be it the nationalist or internationalist variety because both believe that the state is more important than God. Indeed, history is repeating itself again.
We have been warning that a massive persecution of Christians is coming in the West that will likely be the greatest yet in history, and this is just another sign of what lays ahead.