Hands off the Sacramental Seal of Confession.
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When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
- John 20:20-23
The proposal to break the seal of confession. Confession is a gift from God that is offered to all who wish to receive it and the Government needs to keep their hands off.
Whilst Catholics and others of religious persuasions are unequivocal in their agreeance that child safety is of absolute importance, hence, there is no argument on that principle, however we do disagree with the approach that has been proposed. I believe all Christians find the sexual abuse of children unacceptable and abhorrent, however breaking the seal of confession will not render the safety of children. Nor can the seal be broken either. Furthermore, has the Royal Commission considered the fact that a Priest can not and will not ever divulge any confession under any circumstances, and is the government prepared to imprison all these good priests while we have murders and drug peddlers on the streets? It’s ironic that we convict the innocent and free the guilty.
Is there any evidence for the recommendation of removing the Seal of Confession? Can it be shown that the Royal Commission has been presented with sufficient evidence demonstrating that there is systematic abuse of the seal of confession in order to do harm? If this were the case it would lend prima facie support to the claim that the state has the right to regulate the Catholic practice of confession.
The Royal Commission bases its findings largely if not wholly on the notorious child molester Gerald Ridsdale; there were other claims but they were unsupported at that stage. So in terms of the Royal Commission’s report, it seems almost wilful negligence to base its recommendation on one man; a convicted paedophile. So Ridsdale’s claim that if the priest broke the Seal of Confession and told the police this would of stopped the abuse of children is totally uncorroborated. How do we know he even went to confession and even if he did, did he confess the act of paedophilia? So if the commission was disgusted with the conduct of Gerald Ridsdale, why would they trust what he says and base a major recommendation that will open the doors for the state to interfere with all aspects of religion and our God given Freedom? This won’t stop just at confession; this is a direct assault on our religious freedom, democracy and the Holy Catholic Church. This is the start of a Totalitarian Regime. I suggest the last thing that we need is the State meddling in our personal lives more than they already are.
Confession wasn’t the cause of child abuse, rather the person that was abusing and the catastrophic failure in leadership, which is inexcusable. It is this that must be addressed. This failure ought to be distinguished from the question of confession and not to be seen as simply an extension of the same problem. It ought to be noted that if a Priest is told of a criminal act outside of confession the Seal does then not bind him.
The reason why lawyers, doctors and priests, are exempt in disclosing is due to the fact that they are innocent of the crime being reported to them within their profession. Thus, that exemption is actually to protect the innocent. So break the seal confession then all areas of confidentially also need to be broken; for example a lawyer client confidentiality.
This proposal puts a Priest in an untenable situation, and he will be unable to defend himself for the following reason. In a court of law the offender could say anything just like the child molester Gerald Ridsdale, however the Priest wouldn’t be unable to bring evidence forward to defend himself as the evidence is under the seal of confession.
People should be aware that once the Seal of confession is broken for the case of paedophilia, it won’t be long before the state applies this to all crimes, this is guaranteed, as there is a continual undercurrent to destroy the Catholic Church. The State isn’t worried about destroying Islam, Paganism, and Atheism every one is off limits except Catholics.
Here is another point that is extremely relevant. If a paedophile knew the Priest would report him to the police, would he go to confession? Or would he go to confession and state all other sins except the sin of child abuse. “ Dear father forgive for my sins.. And father I committed a heinous mortal sin but I can’t disclose this as I know you may report this to the police.” Now you can see how ridiculous this is becoming.
Confession may be the only place that someone is willing to admit to a crime, admission is the first step in changing ones life. For example an alcoholic firstly has to admit to being an alcoholic, only then is it possible to treat. Confession for many can change their life; historically we can show God changes many lives through confession.
To my last point; The use and abuse of children as objects for the sexual gratification of adults is epidemic in all classes, professions, religions, and ethnic communities across the globe, as figures on child pornography, incest, and child prostitution make abundantly clear. Pedophilia (the sexual abuse of a prepubescent child) among priests is extremely rare, affecting only 0.3% of the entire population of clergy. This figure, cited in the book Pedophiles and Priests by non-Catholic scholar, Philip Jenkins, is from the most comprehensive study to date, which found that only one out of 2,252 priests considered over a thirty-year period was afflicted with pedophilia.
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