Should priests retain the right to Confidentiality ?

“PREMIER Ted Baillieu has backed the right of priests to keep private what is said in the confessional”


Robbo says Sacrosanct confessions need to be abolished

I wonder if he would still say that if a man confessed to killing one of his family members and the case was unsolved?

They keep enough secrets among themselves already with child sex abuse and so on. As a survivor of abuse in the catholic church myself, they should not have these special conditions for others, or themselves For example they should tell authorities when they become aware of sexual abuse among their own men in cloth

WE get enough covered up at it is. It should be impeding an investigation or something, it is akin to aiding an abetting a criminal,but that is my opinion, what is yours folks?

It has been revealed that a parliamentary committee would consider forcing priests to reveal reports of abuse heard during confession.

Mr Baillieu pointed to an earlier inquiry, headed by Justice Philip Cummins, that came out against the requirement.

He said members of that inquiry “all concluded that the sanctity of the confessional should remain”.

“I think that’s a powerful argument,” Mr Baillieu said.

Labor MP Frank McGuire, the deputy chair of the parliamentary committee, yesterday said the inquiry should be conducted by a retired judge or eminent senior counsel.

“This is an inquiry into whether heinous crimes against children have been covered up, and what laws, policies and procedures need to be changed,” Mr McGuire said.

“The inquiry is too important for politics.”

Australian Catholic University law professor Fr Frank Brennan said the move would be a restriction on religious freedom.

“I am one of the priests who, if such a law were enacted, would disobey it and, if need be, I would go to jail,” Fr Brennan said.

Melbourne Victims’ Collective co-ordinator Helen Last welcomed the proposal.

“Priests need to be mandated to report from within the confessional and without the confessional, and they urgently need to be trained about appropriately referring victims,” Ms Last said.

The Cummins Report called for a new law for mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse in religious organisations.

“An exemption for information received during the rite of confession should be made,” the report said.

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19 thoughts on “Should priests retain the right to Confidentiality ?

  1. Do you really think a crim is going to spill all in confession knowing that the priest is going to call the cops?


  2. Yes, oh yes, the bloody priest should be made to confess,(ha ha) what do you expect to get from them ?????????
    When they are guilty themselves of not going to the confession box, for you name it i will just say that boys seem to be the flavour of years gone by and ?????? These so called priests are able to get away with their sins because the big man just moves them on to be able to prey on his next nest.

    (Hi Vickie, I just changed your all caps to normal caps, it gets very hard to read…Robbo)


  3. I don’t think what the law people decide to do here makes any difference, anyone who has a conscious would say something in some form regardless of the law. Saying something can be done in many discreet ways.

    On the other hand if laws are passed, then the scumbags that have no feelings would simply hide the truth and not come forth with information anyway. As per old mate that says I would go to jail before I gave information,(if I were in law enforcement I’d be checking this guy out ASAP!)


  4. When will our precious leaders and Judiciary wake up and treat the Clergy like everyone else. Hiding behind the veil of secrecy has given Pedophile priests and brothers a green card in the past and cost many lives.
    An interesting question would be this. What if someone said they were going to kill the priest when they got the chance. Would he report that?


  5. I just hope this question of “the confessional” doesn’t become too much of a distraction from what I see as the real problem: Priests covering up for other priests (not confessing parishioners).

    The main issue is making clergy responsible for reporting abuse by their fellow clergy or other church employees / volunteers. Seldom does the confessional booth play a role in sex abuse cases, from what I gather.

    Also, most reports of abuse (from professionals) come from contact with *victims*, not perpetrators. The reporter may have contact with the perpetrator *as well* – but seldom indeed will (s)he have learnt of the abuse *purely* from the perpetrator. Few perpetrators willingly confess (be it to a priest, psychologist, or otherwise).


  6. For anyone interested in this topic the following site makes fascinating reading
    I was raised a Catholic and used to believe in the sanctity of the confessional. However I have become disillusioned by entrenched cover ups of sexual abusers by the church hierarchy more concerned about protecting the “image” of the church than pursuing Christian justice for innocent victims.


  7. @marianjr – thanks for the link – some absolutely horrifying cases there…

    How effective it might be in requiring Priests to report sexual abuse cases learned through the confessional is one thing, but the argument that they should not be required to because it’s a restriction on a person’s “freedom of religion” is astounding. How about children’s “freedom” not to be abused? Surely that right overrides any freedom of religion?

    And also the argument that if you make an exception for sexual abuse then where will the line be drawn hardly passes muster either (IMO). That’s like the objection to gay marriage on the basis that once you allow it polyandry and polygyny will automatically follow…


  8. I agee with you Yoshi regards sexual abuse and capital crimes. I assume there are still a number of people who will confess their transgressions regularly and I have to respect their beliefs Not all crimes should be mandated as reportable eg. a teenager or adult who steals from a shop may later regret and confess and seek some form of counselling, someone may recognise speeding was not appropriate behaviour, a partner who regrets domestic violence that does not involve major injury etc.There should still be an avenue within religions for them to confess and seek guidance if necessary. I am sure the majority of priests are good and caring people and are revolted by sexual abuse. Unfortunately it seems, within the church hierarchy, (particularly until recent years) there was a culture of hiding and not divulging clear evidence that was not gathered from the confessional. The Broken Rites site which I have given the link to two entries above gives extensive, compelling cases where sexual abuse (particularly child sexual abuse) was ignored and hidden and active steps were taken to support the perpetrator. Good Catholic families were isolated as a result and often the victim was punished, dismissed and called a liar. Many families had close links to the church and open dislosure could have meant their jobs were in jeopardy or their places within close knit communities were jeopardised.Many traumatised victims fell into drug abuse to hide their pain and the suicide rates are high. If settlement was reached, confidentiality was always a clause.This was morally indefensible behaviour and those that chose not to report the evidence were as guilty as the perpetrators. The confessional was only a small component of a much larger problem. I doubt whether many lay perpetrators would actually use the confessional to confess but it appears at times, priests used this “loophole” to discuss their actions with other priests. This loophole should be closed immediately.


  9. Sandant it may not, in reality, change practice but would give a clear signal to what Australian society’s expectations are when someone has knowledge of a serious crime such as child abuse.


  10. I wish I had my young primary school days back folks.A suburban Catholic school rife with filthy pedo priests and we had to do alter boy duty.

    It was a disgrace and ruined my early adult life.


  11. I send my HUGS to you as well. Unfortunately this is an all too common story right across Australia. Surely other clergy, nuns, priests, brothers etc. must have realised what was going on and turned a blind eye if it was endemic. Its against all Christian teachings.


  12. Having read your post Robbo on July 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm,
    ‘Twould be good to think that Out of evil has come this good.
    The good being this, your Crime site which is unafraid of exposing all manner of wrong.
    It seems not everyone can tell the difference between right and wrong.
    Your post has put some new light on these words.
    God Often Brings Good Out Of Evil
    Heroes are born out of the ashes of adversity.
    A man from hell is not afraid of hot ashes.
    The steps of a good man are ordered by God.
    One who condones evils is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it.
    Two wrongs may not make a right, but a thousand wrongs make a writer.
    Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it


    • re QCL at 1.03…

      I just wish one day I obtain a level of wisdom anywhere near yours, very penetrating words my lady! Thankyou


  13. Well said Queensland Country Lady. I hope your perpetrators get or have got there just deserts here on earth. If some of the case histories on the “Broken Rites” site are anything to go by, many of them lie, deny and project blame on the innocent victims. This makes it a very difficult decision for anyone to expose them.


  14. In my opinion, Priests from any Religion are citizens first. They enjoy the protection of our Legal system just like the rest of us. They should be subjected to The Law of the Land in this day and age. The Catholic confessional is a ‘dinosaur’ and should be subject to mandatory reporting. We have evolved away from a time when Religion historically filled the place of social arbiter; now we have Government for that role. We have a much fairer world under the Australian Government.


  15. Coverups of pedophile priests has been ramant within the Catholic Church. When families and headmasters repeatedly tell Bishops of the issue and the priest is merely tranferred to children in another state can be abused, is simply criminal behaviour on the part of the church. Read this compelling article from the Broken Rites site.

    Caro the confessional may be a dinosaur but even without the privilege of the confessional it is clear that the Catholic Church has not acted on compelling information obtained outside the confessional.


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