In Australia, a proposed new law could require priests to turn over anyone who confesses child abuse to the police. And Australia’s not alone. In fact, it’s something of a trend.
The Irish Justice Minister introduced a bill earlier this year making it a criminal offense to fail to disclose information to police which would “assist in prosecuting a person who commits a serious offence against a child or vulnerable adult.” That includes priests being mandated to break the seal of the confessional.
Hey what a great idea following on Ireland’s decision to do the same. This is really going to knock out a lot of abuse since child molesters are known for going to confession. Plus now with the new law you know child abusers will really be seeking priests out for confession.
While we are at it let us get rid of lawyer-client confidentiality. Lawyers can plead guilty against the client’s wishes if they are aware of them committing a crime. Why should any relationship be protected if it covers up a crime?
It is certainly understandable a reaction such as this against child abuse, a crime so heinous. Yet as bad as child abuse is what about murder? Shouldn’t the priest or lawyer also be forced to give up any information they have if violating such confidentiality is a good in itself. How about client-doctor also whether medical or psychiatry if they come across information? The law seems very narrow in scope being directed only towards priests.
Besides the practicality of the whole thing seems more like an agenda than being directed towards any actual fruitful end. How would they know that the law was violated in the first place? Sting operations against priests with false confessions to see if they go to the police? Or arrested child molesters making an accusation that they admitted this in confession – something the priest could neither confirm or deny? That scenario has the earmarking of another movie in the vein of “I Confess” by Alfred Hitchcock.
St John of Nepomuk pray for us.