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Australia asks Church to end celibacy and confession to fight child sex abuse

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
12/15/2017 (3 months ago)
Catholic Online (

Church has already taken effective new measures.

A commission established in Australia to investigate child sex abuse has recommended the Catholic Chruch end its practice of priestly celibacy, and for priests to be required to report sex abuse that is revealed in confession. 

The Royal Commission has recommended that the Church end celibacy and break the seal of confession.

The Royal Commission has recommended that the Church end celibacy and break the seal of confession.


By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (
12/15/2017 (3 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Australia, child sex abuse, Catholic Church, celibacy, confession

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - An Australian commission established to investigate the problem of child sex abuse has some starling recommendations for the Church. 

In recent years, the issue of child sex abuse has come to the forefront of discussion with the public shocked by cases from schools, teams, and churches. The commission reviewed cases from all areas of society, but had some pointed recommendations for the Church. 

The commission suggested the Church end the practice of priestly celibacy and order priests to break the seal of confession and report confessed child abusers to authorities. 

According to the commission's report, the confidential nature of confession "contributed to both the occurrence of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and to inadequate institutional responses to abuse."

"Church leaders have viewed child sexual abuse as a sin to be dealt with through private absolution and penance rather than as a crime to be reported to police. The sacrament of reconciliation enabled perpetrators to resolve their sense of guilt without fear of being reported." 

The likelihood either of these proposals will be adopted is slim. Priestly celibacy is a long and rich tradition within the Church that ensures clergy are devoted to their parish families and to Christ. The seal of confession cannot be broken either, as it would discourage people from confessing their sins and could jeopardize their souls. Instead, priests have been advised to encourage such individuals to turn themselves in to authorities and to seek help for themselves and their victims. At the very least, a priest may be able to convince a person to stop their abusive behavior. If a victim reports abuse, priests will encourage the victim to report their abuser. 

The Church now requires that priests who are accused of abuse be suspended and reported to civil authorities. 

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