Monday, July 18, 2011

Confessing the confession

People will have to cross the Channel for confession, just like abortion
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Ireland's government is saying it will introduce legislation that will force priests to reveal what they learn in the confessional about child abuse.

"The point is, if there is a law in the land, it has to be followed by everybody. There are no exceptions, there are no exemptions," said Irish Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said July 14 that canon law would not be allowed to supersede state law.

Father P.J. Madden, spokesman for the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland, said the seal of confession is "above and beyond all else." He said in confession he would try to persuade a penitent to also confess the crime to police.

David Quinn, director of the think-tank the Iona Institute, said the government "is clearly 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 counterproductive and will make society less safe, rather than more safe."

"Cutting off the avenue of confession to a child abuser makes it less likely that he will talk to someone who can persuade him to take the next step," he said.

He pointed out that the issue would rapidly become moot: "No child abuser will go to a priest in confession knowing the priest is required to inform the police."
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  1. It would appear either Ireland's Prime Minister and his government have reached a new global low in political grandstanding or are a lot more incompetent as lawmakers than anyone had realized:

    Also I don't think the two explanations are mutually exclusive.

  2. I agree with Quinn. This law doesn't just put the priests in danger of breaking the seal of confession, but moreover the penitents are in danger of committing sacrilege should they know that the priest may be liable to be forced to testify in court.


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