Sunday, 4 September 2011

Church firm on seal of confessional

I recently saw an article titled “Church in Ireland stands firm on seal of confessional[1] by Sarah Mac Donald. My naturally fiery personality could not help but get me really worked up at this article.

The inviolability of the seal confessional is one of those givens in the Catholic faith that should not require any defence whatsoever, especially not in a Catholic country like Ireland.

It was reported that the Justice Minister of Ireland, Alan Shatter, was working on legislation that would make it a criminal offence to withhold any information regarding the sexual abuse of a child.

The minister for children, Frances Fitzgerald, had apparently expressed a determination to push forward with the legislation and had made it clear that the seal of the confessional would not be exempt.

What is going on in the world? Is there nothing that is sacred any longer?

I was pleased to read that last week, during a high profile Mass, Cardinal Seán Brady had said that Catholics had a right to freely participate in worship and to enjoy the Church's long established rites. He reiterated the Church's position on the inviolability of the seal of confession and warned that: “The inviolability of the seal of confession is so fundamental to the very nature of the Sacrament that any proposal that undermines that inviolability is a challenge to the right of every Catholic to freedom of religion and conscience.

I think that Catholics need to become more aware of the extent to which the Church is under attack. We need to realise that, unless we begin to stand firm and defend our Catholic beliefs and practices, even if it seems to be just a little matter, we may awake one day and find that what we have taken for granted is no more! 

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