One week ago, Shoebat.com covered the issue of a bill in the California State House that would attempt to force priests to break the seal of the confessional on pain of going to prison. This would effectively be a way to attempt to shut down the functions of the Church in the state. The bill has not only passed the house, but has now passed the Senate and will likely become law, to which one California bishop has correctly noted that no priest may obey it:
Bishop Michael Barber, S.J., of the Diocese of Oakland, California, has said he would sooner accept arrest and prison than comply with a state law that would force priests to violate the seal of confession. Barber made the statement in a letter released to the diocese on Tuesday.
“I will go to jail before I will obey this attack on our religious freedom,” wrote Barber.
“Even if this bill passes, no priest may obey it. The protection of your right to confess to God and have your sins forgiven in total privacy must be protected. I urge you to contact your State Senator today to protest this bill.”
The bishop said he is entirely in favor of laws that protect children from abuse, and supports the work undertaken by the Church to ensure the safety of minors. But, he insisted, this support does not extend to Senate Bill 360, a proposed state law which would force priests and other religious ministers to report suspected cases of child abuse involation of priest-penitent priviledge.
Barber said that a local priest had come forward to tell him his teenage parishioners were now afraid to receive the sacrament of reconciliation out of fear the priest would go to the police with their sins. He called the bill “misguided,” and said it “does nothing to support our efforts” to promote safe environments.
Senate Bill 360 was amended to require the sacramental seal be violated in instances where a presit learns of or suspects abuse while hearing the confession of a fellow priest or colleague. The bill was originally drafted to require priests to violate the seal if they came to suspect abuse following the confession of any penitent whatsoever.
The bill passed the California Senate on Thursday by an overwhelming margin, with legislators voting 30-2 in favor of the measure.
In a statement after that vote, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez said he was “deeply disappointed” by the result and that, even with the amendments that had been made to it before the vote it “still denies the sanctity of confession to every priest in the state and to thousands of Catholics who work with priests in parishes and other Church agencies and ministries.”
The bill’s sponsor, California state Senator Jerry Hill (D-Calif. 13), has claimed that “the clergy-penitent privilege has been abused on a large scale, resulting in the unreported and systemic abuse of thousands of children across multiple denominations and faiths.”
The senator has claimed that such abuse has been revealed through “recent investigations by 14 attorneys general, the federal government, and other countries.”
Despite recent investigations into the clerical sexual abuse crisis in different countries and jurisdictions, no data exists establishing or indicating the use of sacramental confession either to facilitate or perpetuate the sexual abuse of minors.
Per Canon Law, priests who violate the seal of confession by sharing anything learned within the sacramental context to anyone, at any time, for any reason is subject to automatic excommunication and and further punishments, including loss of the clerical state. (source, source)
Who needs the Soviet Union, with laws such as these? The Soviet Union may have ceased to exist, but its spirit lives on, remembering that the US did not opposed International Socialism with “Democracy,” but with policies whose origins lay in National Socialism and was supported by the former National Socialist Party members of Europe that she brought over in the years after World War II through Operation Paperclip.
The US has become the USSR, at least in her spirit, and as such all Christians regardless of denomination will be persecuted.
The Catholic Church will be hit hardest and first, as she is the most obvious target. However, it is likely that she will survive in the US, albeit reduced in her size and influence by a great amount. Most of the other and smaller “churches” will not, and if they do, they will be but acolytes for the current state of affairs and will eventually dwindle into nothing.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago famously made the following quote:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” (source, source)
It is true that this bill is coming due to the fact of the sins of many in the Church and the hierarchy, for as many saints have noted, the surest sign of God’s anger is the proliferation of awful priests. The priests are similar to politicians in that often times they reflect the state of the people who attend the Church. However, it does not diminish the fact that it is an attack on her and the people directly, using the same tools of the past, but this time in the “new world” as opposed to the “old world.”
The signs of it don’t exist right now, but if one does not believe that the US could do something similar to what the USSR did with camps or other forms of concentrating and forcing people to work under awful conditions, one may want to be careful, as history has an uncanny way of finding new ways to repeat the past.