March 29, 2019
By Tom Maddocks
The head of a leading child safety organisation has condemned comments made by Canberra’s Catholic Archbishop, who indicated the church would not comply with new laws forcing priests to break the seal of confessional by reporting child sex abuse claims.
Speaking to ABC Radio Canberra, Archbishop for Canberra and Goulburn Christopher Prowse said it was not the church’s role to report crimes, adding that he did not expect the issue of child abuse to be raised in the confessional.
He was responding to reforms passed by the ACT Government last week that would make it an offence for any adult not to report suspected child sexual abuse to police.
The law extends to the Catholic Church confessional.
“All these reportable things, deal with them please before you come into the confessional so that we don’t have to deal with crime punishment, when we’re really there as experts on the merciful picture of the lord in our midst today,” Archbishop Prowse said.
In a statement the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn said sexual abuse was “both a crime and a sin”, but said the church’s role was not to deal with crime.
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