A Clean Slate for the Paedo Prelate

Just when you thought it was safe to back to the church…

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse came out with some 85 recommendations to try to prevent a recurrence of this hideous episode in church history.

One recommendation, which most would think was a no-brainer, was that the current dispensation against disclosing admissions given in the confessional be abolished. It is, after all, a serious anachronism in a secular society – the idea that communications between priests and penitents be privileged and not compellable in court. It’s an anachronism in any society – secular or not – because the law is supposed to protect the vulnerable and facilitate the punishment of the guilty, and belief in some bogey man in the clouds is no excuse to stand in the way of justice.

Predictably, the catholic church has announced that, notwithstanding the evil exposed (grudgingly) within their ranks, they will not be abiding by any law throwing into question the sanctity of the confessional. Such communications, says the archbishop of Melbourne, are a spiritual encounter with god and occur on a higher plane than the mean intercourse of the law and are therefore beyond the law’s reach.

High and noble sentiments, no doubt, but all I’m hearing is the catholic church’s ongoing reluctance to genuinely engage with their own evil. Every step of the way they have dissembled, distracted, delayed, obscured – in short, done anything to hinder the passage of justice and refused to prevent or even acknowledge their own unbelievably hideous crimes – which is kinda ironic considering the church’s message of (so called) love.

This is, in fact, a bluff.

They are daring the state governments to make laws making priests compellable, knowing such would split the community if they tried to stand on the moral high ground and refuse. The way I see it, protecting paedophiles by refusing to acknowledge their confessions is way short of the moral high ground. It makes priests, bishops and archbishops accessories to concealing a serious crime.

The archbishop of Melbourne said that it made no sense to report crimes admitted in the confessional because if that was done then people would not confess. He seemed to suggest that the shriving of consciences before god was more important than detection or prevention of serious crimes against children.

The really big thing they are refusing to acknowledge is this: priests, and other religious paedophiles, confess their crimes in the confessional because it gives them a clean slate and permits them to start all over again, secure in the knowledge they can rape and sleaze their way to heaven with continuing penitence – which won’t be reported to the police.

Is that what we really want in the C21? Is that how we want our society and culture to be defined? That filthy perverts who confess their crimes to the minions of a non-existent god should be protected so they can go on attacking children?

I think we’re better than that.

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