20 Nov 2012

Irish priests say they will disobey new confession box law on child abuse

Irish priests have vowed to defy a new law forcing them to report details of sexual abuse revealed in the confessional box. Ireland’s Justice Minister Alan Shatter is to introduce new legislation which will force the clergy to reveal all details disclosed in confession. But priests have vowed to defy the law despite the threat of a 10-year jail sentence after the introduction of the mandatory reporting legislation.


The 800 strong Association of Catholic Priests has even told the Irish Independent newspaper that its members will flout the Shatter law. Spokesman Fr Sean McDonagh told the paper: “I certainly wouldn’t be willing to break the seal of confession for anyone -- Alan Shatter particularly.” Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Raymond Field said: “The seal of the confessional is inviolable as far as I am concerned, and that’s the end of the matter.”

Under the new law, every person in the state is obliged to report suspected sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults to police.