Wednesday 21 March 2018

Colum Kenny: Law may let priests off the hook, but morality does not

The hierarchy must explain what a priest is to do with information learned in confession, writes Colum Kenny

Confession and redemption are big words. They are about the dark side of human nature, and about hoping that people can change.

So should Irish priests be sent to jail for up to five years if they fail to report to the gardai anything said in confession that indicates that an arrestable offence has been committed against a child or vulnerable adult? That is what the Government now appears to be proposing. And it has met resistance.

Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, "regent" of the Vatican's Apostolic Penitentiary, has reportedly said, "Ireland can approve all of the legal plans that it desires but it must know the church will never subject itself to the obligation of denouncing the confessor to civil authorities. Confession is a private matter that allows penitents to mend their ways and purify themselves."

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