Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The confessional under attack?

There are various media reports today that the Victorian Inquiry on child sex abuse is considering ideas like attempting to force priests to breach the seal of confession and report any sex abuse sins confessed, as well as make bishops criminally liable for the conduct of their priests.

I think it is too early to really panic about these yet - start an inquiry of this kind and all of these kinds of ideas will inevitably be raised.  Whether they will gain any traction remains to be seen.

Still, that such ideas can get traction these days is illustrated by the attempt by legislators to do just these kinds of things in Ireland.

Which illustrates why our bishops really really need to think about being pro-active on this debate, and consider, for example, setting up their own independent, well resourced review of the handling of all abuse cases in Australia, with a view to identifying cases where the action taken so far looks inadequate in the light of current standards, identifying responsibility, and making recommendations on changing procedures where necessary.  Maybe individual bishops or groups thereof should consider doing it State by State, or even diocese by diocese if the ACBC can't get its act together quickly enough...

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