Breaking the seal

Over in Ireland they are apparently going to remove the legal protection afforded to things told in the confessional – for the sake of the children of course. At the moment it’s just in the case of someone confessing to “sexual abuse” where there is planned to be mandatory reporting required.

Now I’d hope that the Irish clergy will have the courage of their convictions and not break the seal of the confessional and suffer prison terms if it comes to that as from a religious point of view that it s the correct thing to do. Now that priests will have to report such things is the headline but the BBC goes on to say:

“Anyone who fails to declare information about the abuse of a child could face a prison term of five years.”

If that’s actually accurate then that also covers solicitors and therapists and doctors, who if I recall correctly also don’t have to pass on information to the authorities if told about wrong doing by their clients – and that phrasing covers far more than outright confessions. The whole privileged information thing, and that smaller note seems to me to be a whole thin end of a wedge type thing. After all once it’s established that one sort of crime is worthy of breaking the various long held rules of confidentiality a degree of mission creep would seem rather inevitable. So mandatory reporting of all offences, and with a five year penalty for not reporting probably best to report anything even said in jest just in case it turns out not to have been a joke.

If it flies in Ireland, anyone want to hazard a guess as to how quickly it’ll be tried over here?

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One Response to Breaking the seal

  1. PJ and the woodstocks says:

    ouch, here goes our side of the pond, feel free to cringe and avoid the American diocese:

    an example of a state policy (Iowa) suggests that clergy only need report if in the capacity of “counselor” but not as “clergy” — slippery slope anyone?

    and just b/c some of us are keeping score, apparently only four states in the US have mandatory reporting requirements for incidents of domestic violence:

    sorry for the half-ass literature search, but your topic evoked in me an immediate response of “oh wow, do our professionals go down for that sort of shit over here”

    — unless they get really good civil rights attorneys or the Supreme Court starts deciding whose privacy gets protected… you gotta love our system at times (eep)

    I do love your chutzpah for putting this stuff out there. I have no answers, I never offered to be in that position *sigh*

    Take care you, thanks for listening to me.

    “why delete your spam? spam makes great tin foil hats” sir, do you bite your thumb at me?