Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

In a recent report, priest establishes that a confession is a “spiritual encounter with God through the priest,” noting that the result of this encounter cannot be shared even if the confession has its plots around criminality.

Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, according to a report on the UK Independent news, insisted that he would rather go to prison than report child abuse heard in confession. Denis Hart stood his ground, maintaining that  he was prepared to be jailed for failing to report child sex abuse if it is revealed to him during confession.

For the Archbishop, confessions are not only “spiritual” encounters of cleansing –in actual ranking they are “of a higher order” than criminal law. Denis Hart stated this in his reaction to the statement of the Australian Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse through Institutional Reforms. The instruction came, earlier, from the Australian Royal Commission, urging clergies to corporate with authorities in the fight against Child Sex Abuse.

According to the Australian Authority, there should be “no excuse, protection nor privilege” for clergy who failed to alert police of abuse, UK Independent News reports. According to the report, the Australian Authority further recommended that priests should face criminal charges for failing to report information heard during confession.

“We understand the significance of religious confession – in particular, the inviolability of the confessional seal to people of some faiths, particularly the Catholic faith.

“However, we heard evidence of a number of instances where disclosures of child sexual abuse were made in religious confession, by both victims and perpetrators.

“We are satisfied that confession is a forum where Catholic children have disclosed their sexual abuse and where clergy have disclosed their abusive behavior in order to deal with their own guilt.”

According to the reported in UK Independent, “Archbishop Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference however called for the confessional seal to remain protected by law.

“Confession in the Catholic Church is a spiritual encounter with God through the priest,” Denis Hart maintained.

Denis Hart further emphasized the need to respect freedom around religion, noting that freedom and liberation of religion must be embraced. “It is a fundamental part of the freedom of religion, and it is recognised in the law of Australia and many other countries. It must remain so here in Australia.

“I would go to extreme lengths outside of the confessional to make sure that the law was observed. But there are some matters which are of a higher order, things to do with God.

“Outside of this all offences against children must be reported to the authorities, and we are absolutely committed to doing so.”













Reporter: Ridwan A Olayiwola



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