Here is a thorny patch. Among non sacramental Christians, the idea of the Confessional is at best hazy. Even among many sacramental Christians, there is variety of thought. Christians have not come to agreement when it comes to the necessity to protect children from sexual predators versus the sanctity of the confessional as practiced through the centuries.Secular authority has increasingly devalued the privacy of the confessional.
Within the sacramental community, we have a variety of understandings. Here is one response to this problem.
November 14, 2012
Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, has said that while the Church will cooperate with a federal commission investigating child abuse, priests will not break the seal of confession.
Someone who confesses sins involving abuse will not be reported to police by his confessor, the cardinal said. He explained that while an admission made outside the confessional would be reported, “the seal of confession is inviolable.”
Cardinal Pell said that if a priest is aware that someone has been guilty of abuse, “the priest should refuse to hear the confession.”
The cardinal said that he welcomed the federal investigation because it will “clear the air” and “separate fact from fiction” regarding the Church’s response to sex-abuse complaints. He has said that media reports have portrayed the Church’s role unfairly.
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