- Jan 18, 2020
The president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference is the latest of the country’s senior clerics to push back against legislation to lift the seal of confession for child sexual abuse.
The Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania have become the latest in the country to pass legislation criminalizing priests who fail to report the abuse of children disclosed during confession.
Mandatory reporting of child sex abuse by religious ministers is a welcome reform, according to Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, but the seal of confession can’t be broken for any reason.
Kathleen Domingo is Senior Director for the Office of Life, Justice and Peace and Director of Government Relations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. She helped organize the opposition to a California bill that would have required priests to break the sacramental seal of confession in certain cases.
In a last-minute twist, a California bill that would have required priests to break the sacramental seal of confession was shelved by its sponsor amid a remarkable grassroots campaign mounted by the state’s Catholics, members of other faith groups, and religious liberty advocates from across the country.
Just the last few days have brought several important Vatican developments, including another papal missive to the Catholics of China, a strong defense of the seal of confession, and a remarkable papal shot across the bow to the Catholic Church in Germany.