(The Australian) Priests ‘can report child abuse’: Anglican leader Phillip Aspinall
The spiritual leader of Australia's 3.5 million Anglicans, Phillip Aspinall, believes that priests may be able to report child abuse revealed during the rite of confession without breaking the seal of the confessional, putting him at odds with Catholics.
The Anglican Primate says the sanctity of the confessional should be examined by the royal commission into child sexual abuse called this week by Julia Gillard, which he regards as being a decade overdue.
Dr Aspinall's predecessor as Archbishop of Brisbane, Peter Hollingworth - who lost his job as governor-general after a scandal erupted over his handling of sex-abuse cases in the diocese - also backed the inquiry.
Dr Hollingworth warned yesterday that the abuse of children was "more widespread than previously thought", and welcomed the royal commission as an important national initiative and a means to help victims.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal
Anglican Church of Australia
* Christian Life / Church Life
Law & Legal Issues
Religion & Culture
* International News & Commentary
Australia / NZ
Ethics / Moral Theology
Posted November 16, 2012 at 8:00 am
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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/46088/
1. Terry Tee wrote:
What underlies this whole uproar? It is, I would suggest, the false belief that Catholic clergy are engaged in widespread mutual absolutions for sexual assaults on children. It’s the kind of paranoid visions of institutional evil that are still levelled against Jews, or Masons, or Illuminati - the sense that out there, somewhere, is a vast and sinister organisation. It’s a kind of hysteria.
November 16, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
The confessional need to be sacrosanct. Apart from tradition, one of the reasons for this is precisely that its confidentiality encourages sinners to be accountable for their sins and transgressions. If the law is changed it will not lead to wholesale denunciations to the police; it will simply lead to people staying away from confession when they ought to go.
I am the more surprised because although there certainly has been institutionalised abuse of children in Catholic institutions in Australia, probably the most serioous abuse that went on for decades was when the state authorities tore Aboriginal children from their families in the belief that they should be brought up instead in ‘civilization’. Not quite the same heart-searching or passion about that, is there?
2. MichaelA wrote:
As an Australian protestant who has no interest in the Rite of Conssion, Father Tee, I would go a bit further: I cannot think of any recent media report which has suggested there have been actual cases of a child abuser confessing to child abuse in the confessional. Which does rather beg the question, what is this proposed law supposed to accomplish?
Except of course that once it becomes law then definitely no child abuser will confess to his/her crimes in the confessional, in fact they will probably never go to confession at all. So again, this makes me wonder what this is supposed to achieve. And note that as an evangelical Anglican, I have no interest in the Rite of Confession as such - we don’t practice it and we don’t care about it.
“I am the more surprised because although there certainly has been institutionalised abuse of children in Catholic institutions in Australia, probably the most serioous abuse that went on for decades was when the state authorities tore Aboriginal children from their families…”
It may well go much further than that. There are constant rumours of serious abuse happening right now in state institutions, but because the perpetrators are employees of the state, they are never investigated. Hopefully this Royal Commission will comprehensively go over the State Departments of Community Services and other government bodies, not just the Roman Catholic Church.
November 16, 11:11 pm | [comment link]
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