An archaic Irish law may allow priests to stay silent on allegations of sex abuse that are disclosed to them outside of confessionsGoogle Images

A former Catholic priest, convicted of child sex abuse, has told how despite going to confession more than 1,500 times to admit his wrongdoings, he was intructed to go home and pray.

A former priest in Queensland Australia, Michael Joseph McArdle in a 2003 affidavit claims that he had made several confessions regarding his sex abuse of young boys.

McArdle who was jailed for six years in October 2003 said over the course of 25-years he confessed to about 30 priests about his pedophile activities.

He wrote: “As the children would leave after each respective assault, I would feel an overwhelming sense of sadness for them and remorse, so much so it would almost be physical. I was devastated after the assaults, every one of them. So distressed would I become that I would attend confessionals weekly and on other occasions fortnightly and would confess that I had been sexually assaulting young boys.”

“As the children would leave after each respective assault, I would feel an overwhelming sense of sadness for them and remorse, so much so it would almost be physical. I was devastated after the assaults, every one of them. So distressed would I become that. I would attend confessionals weekly and on other occasions fortnightly and would confess that I had been sexually assaulting young boys.”

He said that after every confession “it was like a magic wand had been waved over me.”
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There has been increased pressure in Ireland to introduce new child protection legislation in Ireland which would require priests to report any instances of abuse they heard in the confessions.

Addressing a crowd at Knock County Mayo this past Sunday, Cardinal Séan Brady said any proposals to  break the seal of confession undermines the freedom of the Catholic Church.

He said “the inviolability of the seal of confession is so fundamental to the very nature of the Sacrament that any proposal that undermines that inviolability is a challenge to the right of every Catholic to freedom of religion and conscience”.

Meanwhile Ireland’s Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald that any news laws will be followed by all: “if there is a law in the land, it has to be followed by everybody. There are no exceptions, there are no exemptions.”

She told the Irish Times: “what is required is a positive piece of legislation which will encourage a culture where child protection is taken seriously”