Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has also opposed any moves to mandate violation of the seal, having said that confession "is a fundamental part of the freedom of religion, and it is recognized in the Law of Australia and many other countries. It must remain so here in Australia…(but) outside of this, all offenses against children must be reported to the authorities, and we are absolutely committed to doing so."
The Archbishop of Sydney's comments came as part of his teaching on the sacraments and eternal life.
In the sacraments "Christ's Paschal mystery is remembered, its fruits applied to us here and now, and a heavenly life promised us," he said. "To miss the sacraments or receive them only half-heartedly, is to fail really to participate in Holy Week. For it's through the Eucharist and Priesthood that we join Jesus' Last Supper; in Confirmation and Matrimony that we experience the climax of Good Friday; and with three more sacraments that we rise from the Empty Tomb."
"Baptism is inextricably tied to Holy Week because Jesus Himself described the crucifixion as the 'Baptism' He must suffer; Jesus Himself gave forth water from His pierced side as the source of Baptism; Jesus Himself appeared at Easter to tell His disciples to go out evangelizing and baptizing. This the Church has done ever since. As St Paul explained, to be baptized is to die with Christ, be buried with Christ, and be raised up with Christ to new life. Baptism is the sacrament of rebirth, purification, justification, eternal life…"
Archbishop Fisher noted that in the Soviet Union, baptism was called a "health menace", and, moreover, that "as recent testimony before the Ruddock Inquiry into Protection of Religious Freedom in Australia highlighted, we cannot take the freedom to hold and practice our beliefs for granted, even here in Australia."
"Powerful interests now seek to marginalize religious believers and beliefs, especially Christian ones, and exclude them from public life. They would end funding to faith-based schools, hospitals and welfare agencies, strip us of charitable status and protections, cast us as 'Public Enemy No. 1'. We may not always be as free as we are now to evangelize and baptize as Jesus mandated at the first Easter."