South Australia Catholic church to ignore law on reporting confessions of abuse

Source: The Guardian

Adelaide’s acting archbishop says confessional is sacred and its nature can’t be changed

Bishop Greg O’Kelly is acting as archbishop of Adelaide
 Bishop Greg O’Kelly, acting archbishop of Adelaide, told ABC radio confession was a sacred encounter that could not be reported. Photograph: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

The South Australian Catholic church will not adhere to a change in law requiring priests to report confessions of child sex abuse, the acting Archbishop of Adelaide has said.

Under the new state law, set to take effect in October, priests who hear confessions about child abuse will have a legal obligation to report the matter to police.

“Politicians can change the law, but we can’t change the nature of the confessional, which is a sacred encounter between a penitent and someone seeking forgiveness and a priest representing Christ,” Bishop Greg O’Kelly told ABC radio in Adelaide on Friday. “It doesn’t affect us.

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