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via:The Irish Examiner
Shatter: Everyone is obliged to report sex abuse
By Claire O’Sullivan and Ann Cahill
Friday, April 27, 2012
Justice Minister Alan Shatter reiterated that everyone, including priests, were obliged to report child sex abuse and other offences, including white collar crime, to the gardaí, even if they hear about it in the confessional..."It was reported but covered up. And in the future it will be illegal for anyone across the community to do so," he said.
The legislation was about more than clerical abuse but was also designed to deal with the more prevalent cases of child abuse within families...Meanwhile, an organisation has said it’s a ‘red herring’ to focus on the seal of the confessional when discussing the statutory reporting of child abuse, as such an obligation would be impossible to monitor, according to the Irish Association of Catholic Priests (ACP).
The ACP yesterday reiterated that priests would never pass on information shared in the confessional as, during ordination, they take an oath ensuring total confidentiality...Under the legislation, anyone failing to pass on information could face up to 10 years in jail.
Mr Shatter warned that any defences published in the new laws would not protect priests from prosecution for failing to pass on information obtained during confession.
His draft legislation, which is due to be introduced later this year, also provoked a response from one of the Dublin Archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops, Raymond Field, who said: "The seal of the confessional is inviolable as far as I am concerned, and that’s the end of the matter."