It believe it is more important now than ever that we return to the old-fashioned confessionals with a complete physical barrier between the penitent and confessor, with a window having a fixed grate and a curtain or something to obscure view that the penitent cannot touch or move. Thus, anonymity of the penitent is secured the penitent has no physical access to the priest.
I shudder at the thought of what I call “law suit rooms”, especially those where the penitent winds up between the priest and the door and there is no window.
From the Australian site The Age:
Laws forcing priests to report child abuse passed in Victorian parliament
The Victorian government says it hopes it does not have to jail priests who fail to report child abuse revealed in the confession box.
The state’s Parliament passed laws on Tuesday carrying sentences of up to three years for failing to report abuse, [for violating the Seal of Confession] but Premier Daniel Andrews said on Wednesday morning that he did not know of any convictions under Victoria’s broader mandatory reporting laws, in place for 25 years.
The Premier said the laws, and the new legislation passed on Tuesday, were intended to create a culture in which all abuse or mistreatment of children was reported, regardless of how it came to light. [It’s an attack on the priesthood and on the Church.]
Mr Andrews said the bill, which passed the upper house on Tuesday night with bipartisan support, was intended to send a message all the way to the top of the Catholic Church in Rome. [See? This statement is superfluous, if “Rome” isn’t the target.]
“The most important thing is to send a message that the law is to be taken seriously, if people don’t obey the law, then the penalties are very significant,” the Premier said.
“The culture is one where people have taken the laws and their responsibilities in terms of mandatory reporting very seriously.”
The changes will bring religious leaders into line with police, teachers, doctors, nurses, school counsellors and youth justice workers who are required to report child abuse to authorities.
“The special treatment for churches has ended and child abuse must be reported,” Child Protection Minister Luke Donnellan said in the wake of Tuesday night’s Parliamentary vote.
“They’ll have to get the prisons ready,” declared Melbourne’s best-known Catholic priest, Father Bob Maguire, on Wednesday.
Asked whether the clergy would refuse to report abuse to the police, he said: “I presume so. Well, they have to in principle.”
But Mr Andrews said the state government now expected church workers to obey the law of Victoria, not rules written in Rome.
“I’ve made it very clear that the law of our state is written by the Parliament of Victoria, it’s not made in Rome and there are very significant penalties for anybody and everybody who breaks the Victorian law,” the Premier said.
The Northern Territory and South Australia have introduced mandatory reporting laws to which clergy are subject, and Western Australia and Tasmania have committed to doing so.
Mr Andrews, a practising Catholic, announced the policy in November, during the 2018 state election campaign.
St. John Nepomuk, pray for us.
Bl. Miguel Pro, pray for us.