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At times one of the defenses we will see in abuse cases is the confidentiality of penance, which is that things were said to other members of the clergy,  but they are protected because they were as part of the sacrament of penance.   There would be no duty of disclosure even under the strictest of first reporting laws.  There would be no use of this information to show notice of the dangers that would have prevented future abuse.   Not even a tip to those  in present danger that they need to stay away.

The Huffington Post recently reported that Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England’s No. 2 official ,

said that the Church of England must break the confidentiality of confession in cases where people disclosed the abuse of children. “If someone tells you a child has been abused, the confession doesn’t seem to me a cloak for hiding that business. How can you hear a confession about somebody abusing a child and the matter must be sealed up and you mustn’t talk about it?”


This is a intriguing suggestion and I can hear the immediate response that it would serve as a chilling of people  confessing.  It is an interesting comparison of the need to confess and find salvation vs.  the confessed acts which involve the innocence of children. The statements followed an investigation into Anglican priest Robert Waddington as a serial sexual abuser of children in England and Australia for more than 50 years. Earlier this year, Anglicans in Australia backed a historic change that breaks the convention that the confidentiality of what a man or woman tells a priest during confession is inviolable.

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.



  1. Gravatar for William Henry
    William Henry

    Well, that decides it for me, at long last. I'm swimming the Tiber.

  2. Mike Bryant

    No idea what the comment means. Thanks for reading.

  3. Gravatar for julian whiting
    julian whiting

    Lets hope and pray that what was disclosed in the past whatever the decade, is also brought out into the light. Only wordly masonic style activity will have information kept in the darkness.

  4. Mike Bryant

    Yep which is why the files are so much more important than just the names. Thanks for reading and the comment.

  5. Gravatar for Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh
    Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh

    As a physician who has met many who have been sexually abused by priests, and as a Catholic, I believe that the Archbishop of York makes great sense. Even in the Catholic Church, no priest has to give absolution to someone who confesses to a crime like the sexual abuse of a child. Sadly, it seems like priests have given absolution, as if it is magic forgiveness, and the sacrament has been abused, since only God can really forgive sin.

  6. Gravatar for Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh
    Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh

    I just googled the Archbishop of York. He is from Uganda. The fact that he is married and has a son and daughter, helps to highlight the importance of a married clergy with children. It is the celibate clergy that lack life experience of women and children and make rules that protect their brother celibates, rather than rules that protect children.

  7. Mike Bryant

    Two very interesting points and I agree would help to be further explored. Thank you for reading and the comments.

  8. Gravatar for Susannah

    It is not just mainstream Churches that hide behind this rule. Jehovah's Witnesses have a very poor track record because of the two witness rule and the fact that they use clergy privilege. They view child molestation as a sin not a crime and hence no requirement to report. The abusers once repentant can operate again within the congregations (and do as many cases have shown).

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