The State Government of WA has introduced legislation which will require priests to report any information of child sexual abuse arising from the sacrament of Reconciliation (or Confession). This is contrary to the long established teaching and practice of the Roman Catholic church.
In response to a call by the Minister, Ms Simone McGurk, for the Archbishop to state the Perth Catholic position on the matter, the Perth Archbishop, Timothy Costelloe SDB has issued a detailed statement. The full text can be found HERE.
The text should be read in its entirety to fully appreciate the situation, but in simple terms, Archbishop Costelloe points out that it is false to say that the church must place either child safety or church teaching first. The church in faith and in practice does both, in that child safety is embedded in the very teachings and practice of the church, particularly in Western Australia.
Take the opportunity to read and understand the Archbishop’s reasons and be prepared to counter any simplistic criticism of the sacrament.