Skip to content

California bill would remove reporting exemption for priests in confessional

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By (CNA/EWTN)
2/21/2019 (3 weeks ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

 A state senator in California introduced a bill Wednesday which would seek to force priests to violate the sacramental seal of confession in suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. Clergy are already mandatory reporters in the state of California, but there is a legal exemption for material disclosed in the confessional.

Highlights

By (CNA/EWTN)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
2/21/2019 (3 weeks ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: California bill, reporting exemption, priests in confessional


Sacramento, Calif., (CNA) - Senator Jerry Hill announced Bill 360 in the California senate on Feb. 20.

"Individuals who harm children or are suspected of harming children must be reported so a timely investigation by law enforcement can occur," Hill said in a statement announcing the bill.

More than 40 professions, including clergy, are already covered by state law requiring them to notify civil authorities in cases of suspected abuse or neglect of children. The current legislation provides an exemption for "penitential communications" between an individual and their minister if the requirement of confidentiality is rooted in church doctrine.

The Code of Canon Law states that "The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason." A priest who intentionally violates the seal incurs an automatic excommunication.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that "every priest who hears confessions is bound under severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him," due to the "delicacy and greatness of this ministry and the respect due to persons."

Despite the centrality of the sacramental seal to Church teaching and discipline, Hill insisted that there should be no recognition of the privileged nature of confession in the law.

"The law should apply equally to all professionals who have been designated as mandated reporters of these crimes '" with no exceptions, period. The exemption for clergy only protects the abuser and places children at further risk," Hill said.

A spokesman for the California Catholic Conference told local media that the bill clearly targeted essential religious freedoms.

"Getting the government in the confessional has nothing to do with protecting children and has everything to do with eroding the basic rights and liberties we have as Americans," said Steve Pehanich in a statement for the conference reported by local news outlets.

The California bill is not the first attempt to compel priests to violate the sacramental seal. A Royal Commission investigation into child sexual abuse in Australia last year recommended that legal exemptions be removed for clergy who learned about abuse in the confessional.
 

Your Prayer Requests 'LIVE'

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2019
Young People and the Example of Mary.
That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.


Comments


More U.S.

Amid continued Midwest flooding, Catholic groups step up to help Watch

Image of

As devastating flood waters continue to rise in parts of the Midwest, Catholics are working to raise funds for both short-term aid and ... continue reading


Federal court reaffirms tax exempt clergy housing allowances Watch

Image of

 The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld tax-free housing allowances for clergy, a decision welcomed by pastors, religious ... continue reading



Maryland House votes to remove statute of limitations for child sexual abuse Watch

Image of

The Maryland House of Delegates has approved a bill to entirely remove the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits related to child ... continue reading


Lawsuit says West Virginia diocese knowingly hired sex abusers as teachers Watch

Image of

The attorney general of West Virginia has filed a lawsuit charging that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and its former bishop knowingly ... continue reading


Directors speak of 'spiritual warfare' while making pro-life film Watch

Image of

The writers and co-directors of the upcoming film "Unplanned" have spoken of how they prepared for a "spiritual battle" to make the ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.