Catholics Want Law to Protect Confessional

By Dan Box
The Australian
December 2, 2016

The body representing more than 140 Catholic dioceses, religious ­orders and other institutions is calling for new national laws making it a crime to not report information about child sex abuse — unless it is obtained by a priest ­during the confession.

In a formal submission to the child abuse royal commission, the Truth, Justice and Healing Council argues this exemption would reflect Victorian legislation granting a similar “occasion of privilege” to that protecting commun­ic­ations between lawyers and their clients.

The issue is expected to provoke controversy when the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse holds a three-week hearing into the church in February, having ­recently flagged it will use this to consider “the protection of the confessional”.

The commission has the power to recommend changes to laws in some states allowing priests who hear admissions of criminal ­activity during confession to not report this to police.








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