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.
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.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.