Irish government backs down on confessional bill
Decide not to pursue information heard in confession box on abuse cases
The Irish government has backed down on plans to force priests to reveal details of child sex abuse cases heard in the confessional box.
Ireland’s Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has confirmed that forthcoming legislation will make no reference to confession.
Shatter and fellow Minister Mary Fitzgerald had indicated in July that the new legislation would force priests to reveal any information heard in confession.
The Vatican even responded to the claims by the government and vowed to fight any plans to force priests to break the silence of the confessional box.
Now, after an amazing u-turn, Minister Shatter has declared the controversy as an ‘entirely bogus issue’.
Speaking to reporters at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting in Galway, Minister Shatter said he did not anticipate any reference to the confessional in the new legislation.
The new bill will make it a criminal offence to withhold information relating to sexual abuse or other serious offences against a child or vulnerable adult.
In July, Shatter and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald informed reporters that there would beno exceptions to the rule including information given to priests in confession.
Derry priest prepared to go to jail rather than break seal of confession
Priests will to go to jail rather than break the seal of the confessional
Vatican leader slams Irish government’s confessional law as absurd
Minister Shatter has now changed his opinion on the bill according to his latest quotes.
He said: “This is an entirely bogus issue. The focus of the Bill, the heads of which were published at the end of July, is to ensure that where there are what we describe as arrestable crimes, which include child sexual abuse committed against a child, and where an individual has material information that would assist the police in the investigation of that crime, that they provide it to the police, unless there is a reasonable excuse not to do so.”
The Justice Minister again insisted that the government’s only duty is to protect children. He told reporters that the context of the legislation is to ensure that those who know children are being abused inform police, that abusers are brought to justice and that other children are protected.
“The central focus of this Government and my colleague Frances Fitzgerald and myself is child welfare and child protection,” said Shatter.
“And this [Confession] is an entire divergence from the central focus of what we’re seeking to address, and I think it would be helpful if those who are focusing on that issue focused to a far greater extent on the protection of children.”
15 - 58 | See all comments
- Planned Parenthood support for Irish leader...
- Gay porn priest is appointed to new parish...
- Horse disemboweled and sliced open in horrific.
- Chilling testimony before congressional hearing
- Ten best Irish lies — fabulous fibs that...
- Delphi Lodge takes responsibility for turning...
- British emigrant group calls on government...
- Senator Schumer says Irish deserve a separate...
- Irish politician refuses to back down on...
- Aussie outlaw Ned Kelly is the center of...