Even as the horrors of sexual abuse continue to unfold in Philadelphia, priests in Ireland are vowing to defy a new law that requires the reporting of knowledge of sex abuse. They say they will not break the secrecy of the confessional box and that sexual abuse disclosed in confession will not be reported. Frankly, it sounds like a convenient set up for the priests: they confess to one another and no one gets reported. Indeed, things can continue as they have for many decades or longer in Ireland with children and youths deemed as sexual play things for the foul clergy. And the Vatican wonders why the Catholic Church in Ireland is in free fall? The Irish Independent looks at the confrontation between the civil government and the would be protectors of predators. Here are highlights:
CATHOLIC priests will defy a new law that requires them to report sexual abuse disclosed to them in the confession box -- despite the threat of 10-year jail sentences. It came after Justice Minister Alan Shatter confirmed the mandatory reporting requirement would apply to priests hearing confession.Fr Sean McDonagh of the Association of Catholic Priests, which represents 800 clergymen, warned last night: "I certainly wouldn't be willing to break the seal of confession for anyone -- Alan Shatter particularly." And Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Raymond Field said: "The seal of the confessional is inviolable as far as I am concerned, and that's the end of the matter." It puts the clergy on a direct collision course with Mr Shatter because new laws oblige every person to report suspected sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults to gardai.Mr Shatter said last night: "I would expect that if there was someone going to confession who was a serial sex abuser, I don't know how anyone could live with their conscience if they didn't refer that to the gardai."It is the latest flashpoint between the Government and the Catholic Church, following the highly publicised row over Taoiseach Enda Kenny's criticism of the Vatican for failing to co-operate with clerical sexual abuse inquiries last year. He declared that canon law would not be allowed to supersede state law. The Irish Embassy to the Vatican was subsequently closed "for budgetary reasons".