Friday 20 July 2012
THE law of the Church states ‘the sacramental seal is inviolable.'
Accordingly, it is absolutely wrong for a confessor in any way to betray the penitent, for any reason whatsoever, whether by word or in any other fashion (“No more secrets", July 18.)
A priest, or interpreter, who violates the seal is automatically excommunicated.
The Church welcomes the opportunity to cooperate with the parliamentary inquiry into the handling of sex abuse by religious bodies and other non-government organisations.
The Church will continue to protect all who come to confession. However, in standard confessional practice, the priest urges those guilty of criminal acts to give themselves up to the police. Whether absolution is granted or not may depend on this.
The Church respects the secret conscience of all who seek the healing mercy of this sacrament.
BISHOP PETER ELLIOTT
AUXILIARY BISHOP, CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE