Law forces priests to violate the secrecy of confession. Failure to do so will be punished with three years in prison.
Newsroom, (September 9, Gaudium Press) — Australia, as part of the Commonwealth, functions as a federal parliamentary monarchy. It is divided into six states, one of which is Queensland, located in the northeast of the country. Brisbane, its capital, has a population of just over 5 million people.
Yesterday, with the support of the National Liberal Party of Queensland, the State approved a law forcing priests to violate the secret of confession and to report known or suspected sexual abuse of minors.
According to Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, the law will do nothing to improve the safety of young people and reveals a “poor knowledge of how the sacrament actually works in practice”.
A Law targeting Religious Freedom
Archbishop Coleridge has also said the law would make priests “less a servant of God than an agent of the state” and raise “major questions about religious freedom.” Otherwise the measure is inoperative, because knowing the law, practically no one will confess sins related to sexual abuse, preventing the priest from helping in the repentance and correction of the abusers.
For MP Stephen Andrew, “the bill poses a real danger for public trust and cohesion in our community,” and asked: “How confident can the people of Queensland be that they live in a free and open democracy governed by the rule of law, where the state jails its bishops?”
Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have also passed laws requiring priests to violate the secrecy of confession; New South Wales and Western Australia have confirmed it.
With information from CNA