*Update: Australia's bishops still don't get it - things have changed
The Catholics are all up in arms, horrified that the Australian Capital Territory has passed a law requiring priests and church officials to report child sexual abuse to secular Australian authorities, ie - the police. Such a law was recommended by Australia's long running royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse, of which the Catholic church was responsible for around 60% of all cases presented (that number's from memory, correct me if I'm wrong).
The ACT is the first state in Australia to pass such a law, and soon Catholics in Canberra will be required by law to break the confessional to report child sexual abuse. In the past they've simply given "counseling to report". Or if it was a fellow priest that they knew about they'd cover it all up inside the church walls, again not reporting it. Gee that's worked well hasn't it..... To a secular person like me the whole idea of the confessional just seems another way for the church to cover up and deal with these serious crimes of child abuse within it's own walls and outside of the law of the land. Whatever happened to following the law of the land then?
So the Catholic News Agency has done a Catholic hissy fit about it all, giving a number of reason why Catholics think their church should put their own man made dogma and doctrines above the safety of children being molested within the church community. I'd like to see a secular organisation argue such a case that they should follow their own organisational systems and beliefs rather than report child sexual abuse because they don't have to follow Australian law because their group is above the law. Far out, they'd be thrown out of the country on their ear.
|Confessional invisibility screen :s|
- Priests are bound by a sacred vow to maintain the seal of confession (Catholic priests only BTW)
- It won't work because no one would confess if they knew they were to be reported (conjecture)
- The gov is appointing itself an expert on religious practices (ie, Don't touch the sacrement because you don't know WTF you're doing!)
- to break the seal of confession “significantly impinges on an individual’s freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of religious rights,” (nothing there about the rights of innocent children, just the church)
- Priests who break the seal of confession are breaking church law (again, nothing there about kids and their broken lives after being abused in secret for zonks)
- Trust the Church to deal with child sexual abuse
- There's a screen in the congessional so the priest may not know who is confessing
- The confessional "safeguards the vulnerability of penitents" (nothing about the children there either)
If you think I'm exaggerating or joking (albeit I have paraphrased and used my own words) then follow the link and read the article. All their lame excuses are all there. It sounds as stupid as the reasons they gave against David and I marrying.
This is obviously the first time in Australia that our laws have gone directly against the man made mumbo jumbo "sacred" dogma of the Catholic church. To my knowledge they are the only church protesting laws requiring them to report sexual abuse of children, all hanging on their beloved doctrine of the confessional.
The confessional is not Biblical. I've read the King James Version of the Bible from cover to cover and believe me there's nothing about confessing to a priest in a confessional box. In fact new testament doctrine asserts that the priest is unnecessary as a means of confession, or repentance. As is the sacrificing of animals to atone for sins. Christian doctrine is that Christ was the atonement for all and all you had to do was repent to Him and accept him as the messiah sort of thing. There's absolutely nothing even in the New Testament that talks about confessing to a priest to absolve "sins". It's a man made idea (not that Christianity itself isn't - but I digress). It's very obvious. The same as Purgatory is made up by the Catholic church to get money.
I couldn't be bothered searching the whole internet for the history of the confessional, but I did come across this intriguing article. Did you know that since 1910 kids are supposed to make their first trip to the confessional box at only seven years old? And no, that's not in the Bible either.
However more disturbingly, the author of this article makes the claim that the confessional has become a paedophile's paradise:
An ordained psychotherapist who has treated many paedophile priests in Britain wrote to me: 'In all those cases of clerical abuse I dealt with, the sacrament of confession was used by the molester to discover vulnerability and groom candidates for abuse.'Some priests took extraordinary risks. In 1988, an entire class of girls at a Catholic school in Monageer, Ireland, complained that they had been sexually molested by a Father Grennan when he heard their confessions in the sanctuary of the parish church. He told the girls in the pews to keep their eyes shut.
Accusations of abuse within the confessional have involved a wide constituency of clerics and a variety of types of offences against boys and girls, as revealed in the Database Of Publicly Accused Priests in the US.
The material comprises a detailed list now familiar in many countries - including kissing, digital penetration of girls, sodomy of boys, the practice of 'scouting for victims' and 'using the confessional to learn children's weaknesses', the practice of 'masturbating young penitents seated on the confessor's lap' and 'plying children with alcohol'.
The most detailed reports of routine abuse in the confessional, typical of thousands of instances around the world and in Britain, have come out of Ireland. For example, in the course of a trial in Cork in 2010 a complainant told police that in 1983 he was on retreat and went to confession in a private room where the priest asked him to take off his clothes. The priest touched his genitals and kissed his lips.
A report contained in a child welfare document published by the Diocese of Cloyne told of an incident involving a girl and a priest at a retreat house in Ennismore. 'She was instructed to lie on the bed for her confession to be heard. The priest then abused her.'
According to the Murphy Report on paedophile priests in Dublin, a parish priest used to 'run his hands all over girl penitents inside their clothing and then kiss them all on the lips at the end of confession which was conducted in a private room'.
Attacks in confession frequently took place within institutions where children were vulnerable and had no parents to report to.
In a case publicised through the 2012 documentary film Mea Maxima Culpa, Father Lawrence Murphy, a serial abuser at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, used the confessional, and his ability to sign, to groom and debauch boys in his care.
Credible accusations have been levelled against highly placed clerics in different parts of the world. Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer of Vienna was accused of abusing up to 12 boys in the confessional.
This is the "sacred" doctrine that the Catholic church is defending, saying an invasion of it by secular law would violate their "religious freedom". Well how has that religious freedom worked out so far then? Ireland had their investigations into the Catholic church, shocking a deeply Catholic nation. Australia has has it's royal commission into it all, and the results here are appalling. A conservative estimate by the royal commission put the level of paedophile Catholic priests at 7%.
During each confession he grasped the penitent child's hands in his hands and pulled her towards his private parts. He was also accused of 'putting his hands under their skirts and fondling their legs to mid-thigh level'.
The late Father Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the international order of Legionaries of Christ and regarded as a saint during his lifetime, ordered boys of 12 and younger to masturbate him.
Sometimes he would encourage the boys to confess to him after the act and give them absolution.
Interviews with priests jailed for sexual abuse reveal that they exploited confession to square the circle of their offending and pastoral lives. A priest in Australia admitted in court that he had committed acts of sexual abuse against children 1,400 times with 32 different confessors. Daily Mail UK
We've had a situation in Australia where the Catholic church says that kids must give their first confession at 7 years old and weekly thereafter. Conservatively 7% of those priests taking the confession have been paedophiles. Decades later in the royal commission we've now seen the results; broken lives and families, suicides. All the while the Catholic church hiding the offences within it's walls. Within it's confessionals.....
My opinion is that the confessional in it's present form should be completely abolished by the state. Does our society come first, or paedophile priests?