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Catholic churches in Australia have on Friday rejected laws compelling priests to report Child abuse cases to the police when revealed at the confessional.

The country’s uppermost Catholic group, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), said it does not accept endorsement from any official inquiry into child abuse confessed in the church that would force priests by law, to report such cases to authorities.

Herald news reports that Australia had in 2017 completed a five-year government-appointed inquiry into child sex abuse in churches and other establishments.

This inquiry revealed that seven percent of Catholic priests in Australia between 1950 and 2010 were accused of child sex crimes plus about 1,100 persons had filed child sexual assault claims against the Anglican Church over 35 years.

 Meanwhile, a state in Australia had long introduced laws that made it a crime for priests to conceal the report of the cases, while five states and remaining territories are yet to reach a conclusion concerning their response. 

The ACBC President, Mark Coleridge, while addressing journalists said the oath of confession was “a non-negotiable element of our religious life and embodies an understanding of the believer and God.”

The group had on Friday released a report stating that “The Council continues to support retention of the civil law protection for the seal of the confessional and children will be less safe rather than more, if mandatory reporting of confessions were required.”

 

Anne Bassey

 

 

 

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