The Catholic Church in Australia has formally rejected a landmark inquiry’s recommendation that priests should be forced to report sexual abuse disclosed during confession. The five-year inquiry found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse in Australian institutions.
The Catholic Church had the most cases. Today, Church leaders accepted most of the inquiry’s recommendations. But their stance on confession may set up future conflict with governments. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said breaking the seal of confession was contrary to their faith and inimical to religious liberty.
They said they are committed to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people while maintaining the seal. The Church leaders said they would, however, explore other proposals – including asking the Vatican to relax rules on celibacy.