Friday, July 15, 2011


Government proposal to break the seal of confession is without precedent

The Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Children are all indicating that a proposed new law will require priests to break the seal of confession if someone confesses to them the crime of paedophilia.
This would make us the one and only country in the Western world to have such a law. Even Revolutionary France in the days of its worst violence against the Church did not pass a law requiring the breaking of the seal of confession.
The justification for the law is that the crime of paedophilia is so heinous that no one who hears about it, under whatever circumstances, can be allowed to keep it to themselves.
But our Government is clearing missing something that every other Government can see, which is that at a minimum such a law is very unlikely to lead to a single conviction and at a maximum will be counter-productive and will make society less safe, rather than more safe.

Read the rest at the Irish Catholic.

I, for one, will not break the seal. I would encourage a victim or a perpetrator to tell the police or some other responsible person but I would not break the seal. Send me to prison, I don't care. I will not break the seal. Make Ireland a byword for intolerance and persecution.

Will this proposed law also oblige lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors? Should we not also report incest, rape, murder, and other serious crimes. If priests and others are obliged to report who will tell them anything? To tell them would be to tell the police.

What a stupid proposal.

I have alternative proposals.

BAN PORNOGRAPHY! Pornography has been linked repeatedly to prostitution and to violence against women and children. It degrades people. It leads people on a road that only ends in ever more depraved behaviour. Protect our children by banning it.

Strengthen families: real families, as in one man married to one woman with their children. recognize them as the building block of society and protect them with tax breaks and benefits.

I'm so annoyed at this that I emailed the Taoiseach.
Pleas do the same:


Caroline said...

It appears that our politicians are too stupid to understand the enormity of what they are proposing, or simply blinded by their anti-catholic bias.

Unknown said...

Brilliant solution by Ireland.

There is no question that the Catholic church has been raping children for decades, covering it up, lying about it, and ignoring the victims. Its worse in Ireland than in a lot of places.

They can't be trusted to protect society from their own pedophiles, and for a long time, the laws of the land allowed the church to get away with that. The church shamelessly, recklessly, sinfully abused that power - not as individuals, but as a coordinated, organized whole.

That makes them an organized crime empire as much as a religious institution.

They should start losing benefits, like "the loophole of confession", since they have long lost respect and trust.

Show us where doctors sexually abused children, and that their superiors all knew about it, concealed it, and hid it, all the way up to the top executive at the AMA, and they'll do the same thing. You can't, so stop the distraction.

Pedophile priests proved that confession gave them the capability to rape children as long as they ran to confession afterwards. Some in the US in Philadelphia had sex with children in confessional. That's convenient. If you close that loophole, and the priest knows that he has to confess or go to hell after he rapes a child, he has a big dilemma.

Pedophiles - want forgiveness from God? Go to prison on earth. You don't get the benefit of God's forgiveness for free. Priests - want to hide your pedophile priest friend? You go to jail, too.

Enact the law. Let's hope the US follows suit. The Catholic church concealed child rape for at least 60 years. Let's let the government shut down the pedophile protection practices.

Tom said...

PatO - I don't usually respond to the nasty abusive commentator. I don't know where you live or where your anger comes from. I too am disgusted with what has been done by clergy and religious and other Christians. I would like to see the perpetrators behind bars. I would like to see those that willfully and knowingly covered up behind bars too. That the Church had a co-ordinated policy of cover-up is nonsense and is not born out by the facts. The worst the Murphy report (in Dublin) is that the Church's officials did not apply her own law. Had canon law been followed to the letter much abuse would not have occurred. Reports since suggest that abuse allegations against clergy have dropped off dramatically - largely because abusers have left or are in prison/ under restrictions. Clergy cases only account for 3% of all cases - what about the other 97%?. Paedophiles and ephebophiles are unlikely to confess - they don't believe their doing wrong. If they do they put their confessor in a horrible position as does anyone who confesses to murder, rape or any serious crime. Are priests to tell on them too?. A priest who abuses the Sacrament of Penance is automatically excommunicated. He can't even go to confession!

You seem to be in America. Look up the documentary 'Conspiracy of Silence' on documentaryheaven - your own Government allegedly covered up serial abuse of minors and interfered with investigations.

Anger is understandable but unreasoning bias is not.

Anonymous said...

This type of attack and attempts of dismantling the Catholic church is the new wave of secularism. They have been waiting for years for something to justicfy their anger.

Philly said...

In fact, Irish Sacerdotal Privilege (which goes beyond the Seal of Confession) is an anomoly and should be repealed. There is nothing to stop the Priest honouring the Seal by going to prison as was the case in the famous case of the will of Lord Dunboyne. I'm just not sure how anyone would know that the Priest had head such information in confession anyway.

In fact, the abolition of Sacerdotal Privilege will simply put Ireland on a par with every other country, except possibly the Vatican. Sacerdotal Privilege protects any communication between Pastor and person (and is frequently breached by the gossipy clergy anyway, who hear things as Pastor that they wouldn't hear as grumpy old bachelor, and then gossip it on) not merely what is said in confession.

The outrage of Catholics is misplaced here. The abuses by Bishops of their flock through bad management, bad liturgy, bad architecture, bad catechesis, bad decisions about criminal clerics, deserve our attacks, not the civil authorities when they voice their just outrage, albeit imperfectly.

Do we get this exercised at the pronouncements of the ex-(protestant) Bishop of Killaloe? Or the destruction of cathedrals and churches because it's required by Vatican II (another lie)? Or the heresy taught in Catholic schools? Or the Catholic Priests who continued as civil registrars after the definition of 'marriage' was changed? Or the passivity of the Bishops over civil unions? Or the errors preached every sunday from the Altar? Or the ACPI? Or the deviations from the Missal by illiterate (or wicked) celebrants? Beams and splinters.

Philly said...

Dare I also ask how many Priests commit sacrilege by celebrating Mass without having confessed their sins? Or even where I'm supposed to find a confessor when I need one?

Tom said...

Philly- while I agree with much of what you say there is a difference between 'Sacerdotal Privilege' and the seal of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I didn't know that there was such a clause in our law. While some clergy are off the wall most are simply trying to do their job as they have been taught - they know no better and have no time to find out. The Government are, I suspect, cynically using public outrage to push another agenda. The Church is weak and now they will try to break it so that no one will oppose them. They want to secularize Ireland - turn it into another dying, Western liberal wasteland.
The Church is in serious need of restoration and renewal. Yet when has she not been? I am not looking to be treated differently from anyone else but I would like the protection everyone else gets - of being free from a false allegation that I cannot refute. That's the heart of it not that the Government would or could charge me but that any malicious person could claim (or use the threat of a claim) against me that I was told about abuse within the Confessional and did not tell. I have no protection. There would be no stopping any future Government from expanding the law to encompass any number of crimes.

I want to be able to minister in reasonable freedom.


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