New Law on Child Abuse Will Force Priests to Break Confessional Seal
Byline: Senan Molony Political Editor
NEW legislation to be published today will offer no exemption for priests in the confession box when it ushers in mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse.
The omission will re-ignite the row over the claimed 'seal' of the confessional, particularly since the legislation was promised following a catalogue of sickening clerical sexual abuse of minors.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald will present the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 and the Children First Bill 2012 this morning.
'These Bills are part of a suite of legislation to strengthen the protection of children and vulnerable adults against abuse,' a spokesman said. 'They address the need to strengthen the law as demonstrated by the Cloyne and Ryan reports.' Another senior source said: 'It is silent on the issue of the confessional because there is no requirement to legislate in that regard. …