The Catholic Church in Ireland is in a total crisis. The land that once sent multitudes of missionary priests to nations, especially to the United States, seems to be hanging by a thin thread that is ready to snap as far as their faith is concerned, along with the rest of the Catholic Church in Europe. The Church in Ireland is knee deep in sex abuse scandals, a Mass attendance that is practically non-existent, and a leadership that has failed many of the faithful. And now, there is another report out of that land that just boggles the mind.
There seems to be a law waiting in the wings from the Irish government that would require all priests to break the seal of the sacrament of confession. By law, it would require all priests to report to law enforcement authorities, any confession they hear from a pedophile. Non-compliance could mean up to five years in prison for a priest. They will now be putting a priest in the predicament of either complying with the law and going to prison if they don't, or being excommunicated by the Church for breaking the seal of confession. This is Ireland! Not some back-wash, third world nation!
I can understand the need and the responsibility to want to do everything possible to protect children, and this law may sound reasonable to some, but this proposed legislation is an over-reaction and an over-reach by the government in my opinion with dire consequences. What exactly do they think they will accomplish by forcing priests to break their vow of complete silence of what is confessed during the sacrament? How many pedophiles do they think they will capture in this way? Most likely, few, if any.
If a pedophile knows that a priest will now have to report his confession to being a pedophile to the police, how many of them will continue to approach the sacrament? The very fact that sinners do avail themselves to this sacrament shows that they have some remorse for what they've done and are willing to admit it, at least in the confessional. Remove the safe guard of the seal of the confessional, and you will possibly remove the one voice that a pedophile will hear (the priest), that may be able to persuade the pedophile to turn himself in and turn his life around.
But this I fear, may only be the beginning. Just as abortions in our country were suppose to be an option for women that were pregnant from rape or incest, it has now turned into another form of birth control. What other crimes will the priests have to report in the future? What other confessions will the government require priests to divulge under pain of imprisonment? Do not think it will stop with confessions from pedophiles. This is the foot in the door.
Priests have been martyred in the past for keeping the seal of confession. Now, we have a so-called civilized nation ready to imprison priests for doing the same thing. If this door is unlocked and opened, it will never be closed again. Pray for Ireland. Pray for her faithful priests. This whole thing stinks.