Retired Australian Bp. Robinson says he would break Seal of Confession, trashes Card. Pell

This, from UCANEWS make me angry:

Pell does not speak for the whole Church says retired bishop

The retired bishop, Geoffrey Robinson, says he would be prepared to break the seal of confession in order to report sexual abuse.  [?!?]

Bishop Robinson has told The World Today that Archbishop [Yes, he is Archbishop of Sydney, and also a Cardinal] George Pell is an embarrassment who is out of step with the majority of Australia’s bishops and should no longer speak for the Catholic Church in Australia on the issue of sexual abuse by the clergy. [Is Robinson saying that the majority of bishops should break the Seal of Confession?]

Bishop Robinson won international attention for his published work on the need for the Church to confront the abuse problem, but he told Tim Palmer that he’s not sure that making it mandatory to report sex abuse crimes that are revealed in the confession box would make a difference.

GEOFFREY ROBINSON: I’m not sure how useful it would be. Offenders in this field, in paedophilia, do not go to confession and confess. They’ve convinced themselves that what they’re doing is right, there’s an extraordinary amount of distorted thinking that goes on.

And also I think they’re afraid of what the priest would say to them. That he would not simply, you know, give them absolution. He would make, you know, all sorts of demands on them.

So I really don’t think that it would achieve everything that a lot of people seem to hope for from it.

TIM PALMER: What if it were a matter of a victim, a person of identifiably tender years coming in and describing something that constituted assault. What would your view be of that then?

GEOFFREY ROBINSON: I would listen to them, find out what I could there, and then I would ask them to give me permission to refer the matter.

You know, that would be my first way, to get them to give me permission because in any case, if I can’t give the name of the victim to the police then there’s not a great deal the police can do. Even if I gave them the name of the alleged offender, there’s not much they can do without having the victim.

So that would be my, always be my first step, to try to get the victim to give me permission to speak to the police.

TIM PALMER: Let’s say these are serious allegations. What would be your next step if you can’t get that cooperation?

GEOFFREY ROBINSON: If the person won’t go that far then I would have to make a decision, and if I really thought that young people were at serious risk here then I would speak to the police.

TIM PALMER: You would break the seal of confession?

GEOFFREY ROBINSON: Well, you know, I’d have to weigh a lot of things up – did I know the name of the alleged offender? Did I know the name of the alleged victim? If I didn’t, if it’s simply someone who comes into confessional who’s not known to me, then obviously I can’t tell the police that.

I would be prepared to break the seal of confessional because you have to weigh up the greatest good, and here the greatest good is surely the protection of innocent people.

TIM PALMER: Do you think that that could become part of the church’s protocol, should become part of the church’s protocol, that weighing up things, priest be at least given the discretion to break the seal of – or be encouraged to break the seal of confession if, for example, a victim comes in and describes a sexual assault?

GEOFFREY ROBINSON: The major problem the Australian bishops have in dealing with this entire issue is that their hands are tied. Most of the changes that are needed must come from the Pope, and if he won’t move, then the Australian bishops have their hands tied.

The chances of getting the Pope to say that priests could break the seal of confessional are, well, nil. [And that, ladies and gents, is why we have Popes.]

TIM PALMER: I’m aware you didn’t see George Pell’s full response yesterday, but what do you make of Archbishop George Pell’s position on these issues?

GEOFFREY ROBINSON: Um… this is a difficult one. He’s not a team player, he never has been. Now on this subject too he’s not consulting with anyone else, he’s simply doing his own thing. I personally believe he’s doing it very badly indeed and I think the other Australian bishops, as one of the very first questions they need to face, they’ve got to confront him and determine who it is that speaks in their name and who doesn’t.

TIM PALMER: You seem to be suggesting he’s an embarrassment almost to the other bishops.

GEOFFREY ROBINSON: Well the other bishops would have to speak for themselves but I have to say that on this subject he’s a great embarrassment to me and to a lot of good Catholic people.

Full Story: Pell an ’embarrassment’, says retired bishop

Source: ABC News

I’ll keep the combox closed on this one.

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