Priests defend secrecy in sex abuse confessions

The Local

Spain’s bishops conference on Thursday defended the right of priests to maintain the secrecy of the confessional booth even in cases of serious crimes such as the sexual abuse of children.

“Not reporting a crime learned of in the course of the secret of confession is not a cover up or a crime,” the secretary general of the Spanish bishops conference, Jose Maria Gil Tamayo, told a news conference.

This principle applied even in cases of sexual crimes, he added.

“This legal principle is recognised by the Spanish state for all religions,” he said. Spain’s Catholic Church followed Holy See directives on the issue, he added.

His comments come as Spain is grappling with its biggest ever paedophilia scandal involving the Catholic Church in terms of the number of suspects.

A Spanish court last month charged 10 Catholic priests and two laymen with committing or abetting the sexual abuse of a teenage altar boy in the southern city of Cordoba.

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