Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the seal of the confessional


The Catholic blogosphere is alive with posts about the suggestion that the Republic of Ireland may include statements made in confession in any new mandatory reporting laws. They are right to be worried. Enda Kenny, who describes himself as a Catholic, supports the idea ... and lest anyone think this is simply politicians pushing for this, a friend of mine whom I always thought of as being a staunch Catholic told me recently that he didn't see why the seal shouldn't be broken in such cases.

It seems that either Catholics no longer understand confession or don't care. Either is grim news for the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Right now I'm betting on don't care. People are very angry over this.

And it's too easy for defenders of the Church to say that this is all about attacking the Church. That's part of it; any organisation that has enemies can expect those enemies to use every opportunity to advance their own agenda against that organisation. But there is a wider constituency of hurt and pain here. And the truth is that after all that had gone before, to discover that in Cloyne that child protection was not being taken seriously is a step too far for many.

The simple fact is that the failure of Cloyne is seen as the failure of the whole Church & the latest in a long line of failures. This is where the Church is at; this is the point from which healing has to begin. 

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