CONFESSION SINS MUST BE REVEALED; Shatter Defends Plan to Make Priests Report Admissions of Child Sex Abuse

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Byline: PAT FLANAGAN

THE Government is on collision course with the Church over plans to criminalise priests who do not report confession box admissions of child sex abuse.

In what will be seen as a snub to Cardinal Sean Brady, Justice Minister Alan Shatter insisted that mandatory reporting is going ahead regardless of any "internal rules" of the Church.

At the weekend Cardinal Brady stressed that the seal of the confessional was a "sacred and treasured" rite.

But Mr Shatter said: "It is the failure in the past to make such reports that has led sexual predators into believing that they have impunity and facilitated paedophiles preying on children and destroying their lives."

The statement came within 24 hours of claims by the country's leading cleric that the confessional was sacred and that any attempt to undermine it was a challenge to a free society.

The swiftness of Mr Shatter's response is a sign of the Government's determination to push ahead with new mandatory reporting legislation when the Dail returns next month.

Priests who fail to inform the authorities about abuse they learn of during confession could face up to five years in jail.

Addressing worshippers at Knock shrine in Co Mayo on Sunday Cardinal Brady appeared to hint that it would be impossible for priests to follow the new laws. …