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: One Nation sends wrong message

Great Barrier Reef

A vote for Paulinle Hanson is a vote for a return to the dark ages

Ipswich health boss out as board moves in 'new direction'

NEW DIRECTION: Outgoing West Moreton Hospital and Health Service CEO Sue McKee.

West Moreton health Chief Executive's shock departure

UPDATE: Military battle large fire near Centenary Hwy

Smoke clouds covered the Cunningham Hwy and areas in Greenbank, Springfield and Forest Lake. Photo: Twitter/Dave Andrews

If you see smoke clouds over Ipswich, here's why

Local Partners

Gatton family claims game show success

A GATTON family walked away with more than $11,000 after an exciting three-night run on game show Family Feud.


10 things to do this Australia Day

Thirsty Merc will perform live at the Racehorse Hotel on Australia Day.

Competitions for the best mullet, cane toad races, zorbing and more.

Chopper's Republic of Ipswich

HELLO: Chopper will perform his new show Anzakistan at the Racehorse Hotel next month.

Popular character returns

See this teen dancing sensation right now

HARD WORK: Katie Bell from Haigslea will perform at QPAC from January 19-21.

IPSWICH ballerina Katie Bell is performing in Cinderella at QPAC

Lion roars to straight to No 1 at Aussie box office

Nicole Kidman, David Wenham and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.

THE Australian-made movie a hit, while Rogue One nears record mark.

Ozzy Osbourne fell asleep during his driving test

Not a good idea to give Ozzy a Ferrari

Kristen Stewart to host SNL

Kristen Stewart will host a pre-Super Bowl episode of SNL next month

Louis Tomlinson celebrated his son's first birthday

Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth celebrate son's first birthday

Kylie Minogue will take husband's name

Kylie Minogue will take her fiancé Joshua Sasse's surname

WATCH: Sneak peek at landmark legal drama 'Don't Tell'

Sara West

'Two thirds of the movie was filmed in Ipswich'

$6 million upgrade for busy intersection

AVID Property Group invested $6 million in connecting its residential estate to Ipswich and Springfield.

Project includes dedicated bus bay, traffic lights and added lanes

Design tenders called for blue chip Rosewood Library

NEXT STAGE: Design tenders have been called for the new Rosewood Library.

Massive $6.5 million investment bearing fruit

Why investors are flocking to Moranbah

Moranbah homes are selling like hotcakes, creating a supply problem

Investors are scrambling to get into the market

Stockland's $150m pitch: Build it and they will come

Gladstone Marina. The Gladstone Regional Council offers a range of exciting job opportunities. Photo Contributed: Murray Ware.

Here's why we need to see Stockland upgrade start soon.

Ipswich house prices looking up in "seller's market”

Region's median house price climbed 1.4% to $325,000 and the median unit price fell 13.8% to $235,000 in the September quarter.

Median house price climbs 1.4% to $325,000 as unit price falls 13.8%

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!