Priest supported for stance against child sex abusers

Maryborough priest Paul Kelly has been backed by former MP and church pastor Chris Foley.
Maryborough priest Paul Kelly has been backed by former MP and church pastor Chris Foley. Robyne Cuerel

SUPPORT has come for Maryborough priest Paul Kelly after he revealed - despite the Catholic Church's silence policy - that he would report child sex abusers who confessed to him.

Making Father Kelly's bold stance even more admirable is the fact he would risk excommunication from the Catholic Church if he did break the confessional "seal of silence".

Senior Pastor of Grace Community Church and former Maryborough MP Chris Foley, who also supported Father Kelly's campaign against the gay panic defence, said he respected the bold priest for taking a stand he believed was morally correct.

Mr Foley also said he backed any motion for change within the Catholic Church which may improve the lives of ministers and the safety of children.

"The broader Christian Church of the world allows priests to be married and I think that would be a step in the right direction in the Catholic Church," Mr Foley said.

"In general terms, allowing priests to marry would allow for a significant cultural change which could bring its own rewards."

Child Safety Minister Tracy Davis declined to respond to Father Kelly's comments but did say she supported the inquiry.

"Child sexual abuse is abhorrent and I believe churches have a responsibility to report any matter where a child may be at risk," Ms Davis said.

Topics:  child sex father paul kelly tracy davis

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