Dublin, Ireland, Apr 26, 2012 / 23:03 pm
Dublin's Auxiliary Bishop Raymond W. Field says priests must maintain the confidentiality of the confessional, which may be threatened by a proposed law requiring mandatory reporting of abuse.
“The seal of the confessional is inviolable as far as I am concerned, and that's the end of the matter,” Bishop Field said in comments reported by the Irish Independent newspaper on April 26.
Remarks made the previous day by Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter suggested that priests could be bound by requirements of the sex abuse reporting bill. Due to be introduced in the legislature later this year, the bill threatens up to ten years in jail for those who fail to report sex crimes.
“I would expect that if there was someone going to confession who was a serial sex abuser, I don't know how anyone could live with their conscience if they didn't refer that to the gardai (police),” said Shatter. He noted that existing laws already require reporting of other crimes without exempting priests.