Friday, 15 July 2011

Stalin Would Be Proud...

The Seal of the Confessional is something the Confirmation candidates find very reassuring. Each year I find myself explaining to anxious teenagers that, no matter what they confess, their sins will not be discussed with anyone else by the priest - not with their parents, their teachers, their friends... nor with the police.

I usually tell them about the Hitchcock film, I Confess, and explain that, in some places in the past, priests have gone to prison because they refused to break the Seal, and some have been martyred.

Now it seems as though I shall have to add that the Irish Government wants to introduce a law which would compel priests to violate the Seal of the Confessional.

Fr. Ray Blake, in an excellent post, has identified some of the logistical problems, particularly the difficulty in identifying penitents, and the fact that, should the proposed law be passed, no-one is likely to bother confessing, with the excuse that "I don't want to give trouble to the priest!" Fr. Z has speculated (rightly, IMHO) on what is probably the real motivation behind this proposed law, namely hatred of the Church's moral teaching.

Paedophilia is a heinous crime, and it cries out to heaven for vengeance, as the saying goes. But if the Seal is broken for this, then why not for other crimes?

Stalin would have given his right arm to be able to bring in a law like this.

6 comments:

Denita said...

This saddens me, it really does.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

I am an Irish priest in the Philippines. I have posted about this: http://bangortobobbio.blogspot.com/2011/07/threat-to-seal-of-confession-by-irish.html

I have posted this comment on a number of blogs and incorporated it into my own post:

I am inclined to think that this is a non-starter and that the comments of Mr Kenny and of Ms Fitzgerald, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, are an expression of disgust, a disgust which many of us Irish feel. When the matter is debated in a calmer atmosphere I think that what is being proposed will be seen as a form of abuse parallel to the abuse it is trying to stamp out.
Today’s Irish Examiner carries this front-page story: ‘THE HSE [Health Service Executive] has ordered an investigation into how social services failed to intervene in what a judge described as the "torture" of eight children by their mother over seven years’.Read more: http://www.examiner.ie/ireland/hse-orders-probe-over-family-abuse-161318.html#ixzz1SFtBpbVl

So Irish government workers, and the wider community, failed to do anything about a horrific situation that was known to the authorities and to at least some in the wider community. There was a similar case last year where even the town couldn’t be named for legal reasons.

A Columban priest from New Zealand, Fr Francis Vernon Douglas, was tortured and killed by the Japanese in the Philippines in 1943 quite probably because he refused to break the seal of confession: http://bangortobobbio.blogspot.com/2009/07/martyr-for-seal-of-confession.html .

Mac McLernon said...

Thank you for this, Father. Somehow you appear to have fallen off my blogroll in one of my previous purges... that has now been rectified!

Unfortunately, while the proposal to make this law may only be an "expression of disgust" we have to oppose it as vociferously as possible.

No-one believed that the Sexual Orientation Regulations in the UK would result in Catholic Adoption Agencies being unable to operate according to Church teaching, but that has been the result. More and more attacks against the freedom of the Church to act as she believes are happening. People are wary of expressing their beliefs, in case they lose their jobs. We have to make it clear that such attempts to erode the Faith will not be tolerated.

Mary O'Regan said...

May I have a prayer? Just writing an article for secular Irish newspaper on why I defend the seal of the confessional, and why this proposes law is lunacy.

Mac McLernon said...

Mary, for that you can have a whole rosary!!

Mary O'Regan said...

Dear Mulier Fortis,

Thank you so much for your wonderful spiritual generosity in saying a Rosary for my intention. May many blessings and graces 'bounce back'. Be assured of my prayers in gratitude. Today I prayed for you at the 8 am Tridentine at the Oratory.

The focus of the article was changed to my response to The Cloyne Report and why I still have faith in wake of the findings. This article was accepted for publication yesterday. But let's keep praying because my editor might decide to let me do a whole article defending the seal of the confessional. I'll just e-mail her again...

God bless always,

Mary

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