THE OF COURSE, I COULD BE CHIN WAGGING…DISCUSSION OF THE DAY

From ABC NEWS (Australia):

The Catholic Church is again being urged to remove the sanctity of the confessional for child abuse cases. South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon says the law requires priests to report sexual abuse cases to the police but not if they learn about them in the confession booth.

"Where someone has confessed or has given information in relation to child sexual abuse, that should be notified to the authorities," he said.

"I think it's too important an issue where it's concerning the welfare of a child."

COMMENT: As a catholic minded priest, breaking the seal of the confessional, or just breaking the rules of confidentiality that exist between a pastor and client, would be the same, in my mind, as if I committed adultery. Also, I can't see how anyone would be so stupid as to confess to child abuse if they knew they were going to be reported, and I wonder if making exceptions to the confidentiality protocol would deter people from going to their priest to work through any guilt issues.

I also have a philosophical problem with this. What is the difference in type between the sexual abuse of a child, the sexual abuse of an adult, murder, kidnap, theft or cheating on your tax return? As soon as you make one sin an exception then it is only a matter of time before the domino effect kicks in.

But I know many people would disagree with my understanding of this ethical issue and, so, I invite your comments.


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Comments

THE OF COURSE, I COULD BE CHIN WAGGING…DISCUSSION OF THE DAY — 1 Comment

  1. I don’t care whether you are catholic-minded or not: The confidentiality of the confessional is a primary tenet of common-law jurisprudence, and anyone who thinks it necessary to invent exceptions to it is an ass, even if named Xenophon. Any basis for such an exception is yet to be justified.