Pope replaces Australian prelate who opposes sex abuse norm

Associated Press

June 30, 2018

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Melbourne’s archbishop, who said he’d prefer jail to telling civil authorities about any sex abuse of children that might be revealed to him in the confessional.

The Vatican said Friday that the pontiff has appointed Monsignor Peter Comensoli, 54, to head the archdiocese, replacing Archbishop Denis Hart.

At 77, Hart is two years older than the age at which all bishops must offer the pope their resignation.

Last year in an interview, Hart objected to a recommendation from Australia’s Royal Commission on child sexual abuse that priests be required to report cases of abuse heard in the confessional to authorities.

Then head of Australia’s bishops’ conference, Hart defended the special nature of confession as part of religious freedom.

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