Letter: ‘Religious freedom’ no excuse to hide child sex abuse

Bay Area News Group

May 29, 2019

In the May 26 East Bay Times front-page article, “State vs. Church: Senators want confessions of child abuse reported; clergy assert religious freedom,” readers learn that the California Senate resoundingly approved a bill that forces clergy who hear the confessions of child sexual abusers from another priest must report it.

The Senate bill will protect children from sexual abusers. However, the California Catholic Conference opposes the Senate bill and thinks it will dangerously weaken religious freedom.

Steven Pehanich, spokesman for the California Catholic Conference, doesn’t agree with the bill. He states it’s a slippery slope for priests to disclose a confession of sexually abusing a child.

No one wants the seal of confession to be used to protect child abusers. Are we really going to use the “confessional” and religious freedom as an excuse to hide sexual abuse of our precious children? Hopefully, we are better than that.

Jody Benkly
Walnut Creek

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