Priests should advise paedophiles to report their crimes says Archbishop

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Stephen Brislin says what has been happening in the Roman Catholic church is a disgrace and cannot be defended.

Brislin is responding to incidents of child abuse that are allegedly happening behind closed doors in the church and now the Catholic Church in Australia has come out to say that it would be opposing laws forcing priests to report child abuse when they learn about it in the confessional.

He says what is happening within the church needs to be spoken about.

In terms of the confession, we view the sacrament of confession as absolutely sacrosanct - that no priest can divulge what happens in confession either directly or indirectly and furthermore can never use the information that he had received in confession.

Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cape Town

Brislin says the Australian bishops make an important point that no one will be willing to confess if they knew it was going to be revealed.

He says when the priest is well trained he would be able to advise and council the person confessing on the right actions to take.

Part of the confession is not simply to confess your sins but you have to restore, make restitution for what you have done. If you have stolen something, then you have to return what you have stolen.

Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cape Town

This would be the same case if somebody came to confess paedophilia then the priest would be bound to say that part of the restitution is that you must go to the legal authorities and report this yourself.

Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cape Town

Brislin says he doesn't think any priest would be in a position to go to the police and report a paedophilia because they would be immediately excommunicated.

To hear the rest of the conversation with Archbishop Stephen Brislin, listen below:


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