Thursday 14 November 2019

Breaking the seal

•David Quinn's arguments against the laws requiring priests to 'break the seal of the confessional' would be laughable, except that so many people hold such beliefs. There is no attack on freedom to follow the Catholic religion.

Those who wish to utilise the confessional may still do so.

Paedophiles who believe the process will cleanse their immortal souls may still decide that punishment on earth is a small price to pay for eternity in heaven.

If a paedophile can abuse and confess repeatedly while having his/her soul miraculously cleansed, then why stop abusing?

Eternity in heaven becomes a matter of getting the timing right between confessing and dying. Catholic purists will argue that absolution is only provided when the sinner is truly penitent. What matters is what the paedophile believes.

Other arguments around religious freedom could, of course, be made, but there is no need to dwell on them other than to say that Rastafarians cannot legally partake of the marijuana plant that is a part of their religion.

The most serious argument remains that the Catholic Church in Ireland is the institution primarily responsible for the majority of institutional child abuse.

It has enabled abusers to continue to abuse, targeting poorer parishes with paedophile priests because the children there were "more robust".

In recent times, it has falsely claimed to have cleaned its own house while shielding abusers. The Catholic Church cannot be trusted. It has been given chances and failed the Irish people repeatedly. This law is not an attack on religion, it is a defence of children.

We live in an age of reason. Faith is belief without reason. Were there a point in prayer, I would pray for an end to faith. The law of the land is supreme, not my beliefs nor those of any group.

Fergal Leonard
Los Angeles, California

Irish Independent

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