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Catholic priests in France ‘must report abuse allegations heard in confession’

[bold]Minister reprimands top bishop for claiming the secrecy of confessional ‘above laws of the Republic’[/bold]

Catholic priests must report all child sexual abuse allegations to police, including if they hear about it in the secrecy of the confession box, the French interior minister has said after reprimanding France’s top bishop for claiming that the secrecy of the Catholic confessional was “above the laws of the Republic”.

France is reeling from the publication last week of a devastating independent report which found that at least 330,000 children were victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and lay members of church institutions over the past 70 years, and that the crimes were covered up in a “systemic way” by the church.

France’s top bishop,Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, had initially expressed “shame and horror” at the report, but in an interview a few days later he sparked outrage by rejecting the commission’s recommendation to require priests to inform police of any child abuse cases learned about during the sacrament of confession.

Moulins-Beaufort, the head of the Bishops’ Conference of France, had told Franceinfo: “The secrecy of confession is a requirement and will remain a requirement – in a way, it is above the laws of the Republic. It creates a free space for speaking before God.”

The interior minister, summoned Moulins-Beaufort for a long meeting on Tuesday in which he made clear that professional secrecy – including that of the Catholic confessional – did not apply to disclosures of potentially criminal cases of sexual violence against children, which priests were obliged to report to the police and justice system.

Immediately after the meeting, Darmanin was applauded by members of parliament in the National Assembly when he said: “I told him what I say to all religions: there is no law that is superior to the laws of the National Assembly and the Senate … The French Republic respects all religions from the moment they respect the Republic and the laws of the Republic.”

Following the meeting, De Moulins-Beaufort issued a statement asking for forgiveness from people offended by his comments last week. The Bishops Conference of France said in a statement that the scale of the abuse detailed in the report meant the church should review its practises, and that work was needed “to reconcile the nature of confession with the need to protect children.”

President Emmanuel Macron, who has criticised ultra-conservative Muslims in the past for what he described as attempts to subvert French law, had asked the interior minister to hold the meeting with the Catholic bishop in order to “make sure that things are clear,” the government spokesperson said last week.

“Nothing takes precedence over the laws of the Republic in our country,” the spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, had said.

Moulins-Beaufort angered victims’ groups with his comments that priests were not obliged to report sexual abuse if they heard about it during an act of confession, a Catholic ritual used to admit to sins. His words were in line with new Vatican guidelines, released last year on handling clerical child abuse cases, which state that any crime discovered during confession is subject to “the strictest bond of the sacramental seal”.

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by Anonymousreply 21November 20, 2021 1:45 AM

Frenchie thinks he can overrule the Church? BWAAAAH.

by Anonymousreply 1October 13, 2021 2:02 AM


by Anonymousreply 2October 13, 2021 4:20 AM

That's not happening. People suggesting that have no clue what the confessional means to Catholics.

by Anonymousreply 3October 13, 2021 7:50 AM

I wouldn't call it exactly a trap, but it's painfully obvious that the Church would never betray the holy sacrament of confession. It establishes the Christian Church, rightfully, as further aiding and abetting pedophiles. Which, at this time, is a very bad image problem for an institution that has lost its grip on the public to obey religious authority no matter what.

by Anonymousreply 4October 13, 2021 10:25 AM

More reasons to abandon Catholic sacraments.... like their exclusionary matrimony.

by Anonymousreply 5October 13, 2021 10:51 AM

Just shows how outdated the Catholic Church practices are. What's more important, the confessor feeling good, or justice for the wronged?

by Anonymousreply 6October 13, 2021 10:54 AM

It should get you into heaven, but not outta jail.

by Anonymousreply 7October 13, 2021 11:01 AM

Like the sound of a tree falling in a forest... If a complainant doesn't call the police to serve a charge against an offender, then nothing happens. The pope fucked up on this. Wonder if priests in Texas will get $10k for turning in women who confess to self-abortions....?

by Anonymousreply 8October 13, 2021 11:09 AM

Then the attorney-client privilege needs to be overturned also. If an attorney knows that the client is guilty, then he/she must report the confession to the court.

by Anonymousreply 9October 13, 2021 1:38 PM

Exactly, r9.

by Anonymousreply 10October 13, 2021 3:41 PM

And does the priest report to that part of the system dealing with issues righting wrongs, justice, and social and personal accountability like the lawyer does?

by Anonymousreply 11October 13, 2021 6:16 PM

Therapists also enjoy a similar privilege. Priests basically do the same work as psychologists so the French haven't thought this through.

by Anonymousreply 12October 13, 2021 6:30 PM

IF (and that's a huge IF) you believe in religious freedom, then the sanctity of the confessional, given it's role in their wacked out faith, is a huge deal for a priest to violate.

Also, couldn't you conceivably entrap a priest by having people go around and confessing to see if they report? There is no law against a false religious confession. The violation of the law comes from not reporting whether the confession was actually an admission of guilt or not.

Finally, if you consider how implementation actually would work, it would only ever come to light if someone were caught and then admitted to confessing to a priest who then admitted to not reporting. There is something unsavory about using a loophole in their own faith (having to swear to be honest) into admitting they violated their faith - though obviously, here on DL, we'd call that schaudenfreude.

by Anonymousreply 13October 13, 2021 6:41 PM

Priests are not licensed by law.

by Anonymousreply 14October 13, 2021 6:45 PM

Sorry, but the Catholic Church LONG AGO lost any legitimate claim it might have had on priestly confidentiality. The priests and nuns violated children in horrible ways. The hierarchy covered it up.

They have proven that they are not trustworthy, so they can no longer be trusted with this privilege. To Hell with them.

by Anonymousreply 15October 13, 2021 7:01 PM

Absolutely a false equivalency , R15. But you knew that before you posted.

by Anonymousreply 16October 13, 2021 8:15 PM

In just a couple of sentences, R15 comes across as extremely unintelligent, given to emotional outbursts and incapable of tactful contemplation.

Sorry, I make snap judgements.

by Anonymousreply 17October 14, 2021 2:34 AM

Quelle surprise!

by Anonymousreply 18October 15, 2021 10:02 AM

And just like that, they've stopped talking about it in France, because it was a ridiculous suggestion.

by Anonymousreply 19October 16, 2021 3:03 AM

[quote]Sorry, I make snap judgements.

Oh, dear...so do we.

by Anonymousreply 20October 17, 2021 2:10 PM

This "conflict of interest" is a big part of this 1994 movie's plotline, although it happens on the other side of the Channel.

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by Anonymousreply 21November 20, 2021 1:45 AM
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