Catholic Church won’t break confessional seal on child abuse, despite royal commission

ABC News

August 31, 2018

By Paige Cockburn

[See also the response of the bishops’ conference and conference of superiors (this link brings you directly to the portion of the response relating to the seal of confession).]

Key points:
• Breaking the seal of confession would restrict religious liberty and not improve child safety, the Church says
• Voluntary celibacy for some clergy will also be examined
• The Church is considering making child sexual abuse a canonical crime, not a ‘moral failing’

The Catholic Church will not accept the royal commission’s recommendation to lift the seal of confession regarding child sex abuse, arguing it impinges on religious liberties.

Almost nine months after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse handed down its findings, the Church has delivered its formal reply.

It said it would not change secrecy rules, meaning clergy do not have to report abuse revealed in the confessional.

“This is because it is contrary to our faith and inimical to religious liberty,” the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) said in their response.

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