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Thread: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    Philosophically the confessional should not be given special legal status, but given the power of the catholic church the practical solution is to scale the protection based on the information being revealed. Not revealing an act of petty theft is different than covering up mass child molestation.

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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    Not coming forward to reveal something is different from actively covering something up

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Philosophically the confessional should not be given special legal status, but given the power of the catholic church the practical solution is to scale the protection based on the information being revealed. Not revealing an act of petty theft is different than covering up mass child molestation.

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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    Quote Originally Posted by RabidAlpaca View Post
    Confessions should be like doctor or psychiatrist visits, completely confidential. Unless the person is talking about specifically harming someone.

    I'm an avid atheist, but I fully support the church to maintain its own beliefs.

    If a child came in with suspicious bruises a doctor would be legally required in many places to notify the authories.If a child came into a quack's office and said mommy's new friend touch him in his private place then that quack in many places would be legally required to notify the authorities. Failure to report child abuse in many states is either a misdemeanor or felony.
    "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear"

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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    Quote Originally Posted by RabidAlpaca View Post
    Confessions should be like doctor or psychiatrist visits, completely confidential. Unless the person is talking about specifically harming someone.

    I'm an avid atheist, but I fully support the church to maintain its own beliefs.
    If I have followed correctly, this is an attempt to bring the Church in line with the privileged communication standards of those professionals.

    In the US this is all covered under State law, so as usually quite the patchwork. Most States protect the client-lawyer privileged communication, a lot don’t for spousal and patient-physician communications. A handful of States, including here in Texas, explicitly state that clergy are required to report. More info here on clery in the US.

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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    If a child came in with suspicious bruises a doctor would be legally required in many places to notify the authories.If a child came into a quack's office and said mommy's new friend touch him in his private place then that quack in many places would be legally required to notify the authorities. Failure to report child abuse in many states is either a misdemeanor or felony.
    I guess you failed to read my comment. I specifically said "Unless the person is talking about specifically harming someone."

    Thanks for wasting your time and mine.
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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    My understanding of the Seal of the Confessional has always been that it cannot be broken, not even if a priest is required to give up his life. So I Googled "why the Seal cannot be broken" and found that in 2006 New Hampshire became the first state to require priests to break the Seal: Will The Seal of Confession Be Broken? | 2006 | Current Campaigns

    Here's an Oregon case from 2009: ZENIT - Seal of Confession Goes on Trial

    Here is what appears to be a good explanation of the "rules":

    SUMMA THEOLOGICA: The seal of confession (Supplementum, Q. 11)

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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    My understanding of the Seal of the Confessional has always been that it cannot be broken, not even if a priest is required to give up his life. So I Googled "why the Seal cannot be broken" and found that in 2006 New Hampshire became the first state to require priests to break the Seal: Will The Seal of Confession Be Broken? | 2006 | Current Campaigns

    Here's an Oregon case from 2009: ZENIT - Seal of Confession Goes on Trial

    Here is what appears to be a good explanation of the "rules":

    SUMMA THEOLOGICA: The seal of confession (Supplementum, Q. 11)
    I'm entirely good with putting priests who will not follow the law in prison. At least they won't be molesting altar boys.
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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    Quote Originally Posted by RabidAlpaca View Post
    Confessions should be like doctor or psychiatrist visits, completely confidential. Unless the person is talking about specifically harming someone.

    I'm an avid atheist, but I fully support the church to maintain its own beliefs.
    What of the confessor says "I raped my 16 year old daughter." and the priest knows he also has a 14 and 12 year old in his household, he's not obligated to tell authorities?

    What, the priest tells him to say 10 Hail Mary's and to not do it again?

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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    While I think that any good government that cares about the rights and liberties of its citizenry, should be VERY VERY cautious and hesitant about sticking its nose into the internal proceedures of any religious organization... when you have reason to believe that a certain type of very serious crime (ie pedo) has become a problem within that religious org, and that the org's own internal rules are causing the crimes to be covered up and interfering with prosecution, you have a strong argument for such intervention.

    Whether this intervention is legal I could not say, as I have almost zero knowlege of Australia's legal structure, or whether they have anything similar to the BoR or not.
    OK, now I have an established church that meets all legal requirements, similar to Catholicism.
    We decide that murder, when confessed, does not need to be reported, as it violates our confidentially of the confessional.
    We have also decided to condone murder as an exception to sin when it is based upon revenge.

    Based upon your separation of church and state, any of my members who confess to murder for revenge will escape any punishment as my priests have to tell nobody under the cloak of confession.
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    Re: Australian priests could be forced to breach seal of the confessional

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    Not coming forward to reveal something is different from actively covering something up
    How did that work out for Penn State?
    I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. - MLK

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