News

Priests should not break 'sacred' Seal of Confession: Bishop

A CATHOLIC bishop says priests who hear the confessions of paedophiles have the option of urging the "criminals to turn themselves in" or refusing them forgiveness, but should not break the "sacred" Seal of Confession.

The Most Reverend Anthony Fisher, who is the Bishop of Parramatta, wrote to members of the diocese this week after Prime Minister Julia Gillard called for a royal commission into child abuse.

Child abuse across a range of institutions will be the subject of the royal commission, not just the Catholic Church.

There have been calls for priests who hear the confessions of paedophiles to appear before the royal commission.

It was a suggestion rejected by the head of the Catholic Church in Australia Cardinal George Pell.

"The Seal of Confession is inviolable," Cardinal Pell said.

It was a sentiment echoed by Rev Fisher in his message, although he was more expansive.

"If someone is abusing the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a priest may refuse to hear their confession or refuse them absolution; he may also rebuke those whose sins are grave and bid criminals turn themselves in," Rev Fisher wrote.

"But no priest will break the sacred Seal of Confession between God and the penitent."

Rev Fisher also welcomed Ms Gillard's decision to call the royal commission, adding the sexual abuse of children was to be "condemned in the strongest possible terms".

He assured followers the church "put victims first" in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.

"I know I speak for our entire Catholic community when I say that our hearts go out to the victims of child sexual abuse, the 'little ones' whom Christ most loves, and to their families," he wrote.

"I want to assure you, as I did in my pastoral letter of two months ago, that we now have in place a rigorous process for dealing with complaints of abuse and that we work closely with police and other authorities.

"With the help of this royal commission and other independent inquiries we hope to learn new ways of ensuring that every child is safe in the future and that victims of past offences are assisted."

He also made reference to the fact two educators from within the Parramatta Diocese had been charged with child sex offences in recent times.

"I know this has been upsetting for many of you; it certainly has been for me. This is truly a time in 'the valley of tears' for the Church in Australia," he wrote.

Topics:  child abuse, paedophile



LETTER: Bats were there before development

Bats on their nightly eat and feast mission.

Who allowed development in an area where the bats live?

The stately manors of early Ipswich

STATELY MANOR: Booval House was built more than 160 years ago and remains as one of the prestige homes in Ipswich.

Built more than 160 years ago and still going strong

Police appeal for witnesses to fatal motorcycle crash

Scene of a fatality where male motorcycle rider lost his life on Augusta Parkway at Brookwater.Photo: Contributed

Police have ruled out a white ute from their investigations.

Local Partners

WATCH: Justin Bieber grabbed in Germany

A video has emerged of singer Justin Bieber being attacked

Why The Wrong Girl is right for Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais and Ian Meadows in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

ACTOR makes the sometimes awkward character her own in new comedy.

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Gruen star discovers the body's limits in new hit TV show

Todd Sampson tries out MMA fighting during TV series BodyHack.

Gruen star pushes the limits in new TV series

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets

Another Ripley development

THE ENTRANCE: An overview of the last planned development for the fast growing Ripley area.

85 more home lots released

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.