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Alan Shatter

Irish clergy to defy new law that calls for disclosure from Confession

The Irish clergy are planning to defy a new law that requires them to report sexual abuse disclosed to them in the confession box, despite the threat of 10-year jail sentences.

Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter (above) last week confirmed the mandatory reporting requirement would apply to priests hearing Confession.

Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Raymond Field remains firm on the matter.

“The seal of the confessional is inviolable as far as I am concerned, and that’s the end of the matter,” he said.

Fr Sean McDonagh of the Association of Catholic Priests, which represents 800 clergymen said the Church has no leeway on this issue.

“I certainly wouldn’t be willing to break the seal of confession for anyone,” he said. “Alan Shatter particularly.”

Mr Shatter’s response looks set to put the Church on collision course with the government when his legislation goes before parliament later this year.

“I would expect that if there was someone going to confession who was a serial sex abuser, I don’t know how anyone could live with their conscience if they didn’t refer that to the Gardai,” he said.


Comments - One Response

  1. margaret whyte says:

    This is the whole problem with the Catholic Church. Silence of the clergy in the knowledge of criminal acts against children and the most vulnerable disclosed at confession is not a private matter. Children must be seen to be protected at any cost. When the Sacrament of Confession was given by Christ, there was no stipulation that said justice was to take second place. The ongoing disclosures of child abuse and cover up be th Church should be enough for the leaders of the church to embrace this law as a sign of zero tolerance instead of taking the superior stance which reeks of self protection. I also believe Cardinal Brady should resign his post without further shameful delay.

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