Irish Law Could Force Priests to Break Confessional Seal

From the Irish Catholic comes news that confirms just how far Ireland has fallen from its tradition of being the “land of saints and scholars”:

The Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Children are all indicating that a proposed new law will require priests to break the seal of confession if someone confesses to them the crime of paedophilia.

This would make us the one and only country in the Western world to have such a law. Even Revolutionary France in the days of its worst violence against the Church did not pass a law requiring the breaking of the seal of confession.
The justification for the law is that the crime of paedophilia is so heinous that no one who hears about it, under whatever circumstances, can be allowed to keep it to themselves.

The last line of the article is ominous:

It says a lot about the present mood here that it can even be entertained.

Picking up from this thought, Fr. John Zulsdorf, captures the real motivation behind such a law:

And that mood is: Attack the Catholic Church, threaten the Catholic Church, intimidate the Catholic Church.

When our Catholic identity is eroded, this is what happens. As the night follows the day, threats of this kind will be made so as to silence the Church, whose duty it is to teach on many moral issues. You know the issues I am talking about. I suspect that this has more to do with hatred of the Church’s teaching office than it does with outrage over child abuse.

How will the Irish government reconcile this with the right to religious freedom in Article 18 of the ICCPR? Or will anyone even challenge them over it? And would would the Human Rights Committee that oversees the treaty even see a conflict?

[Courtesy of Turtle Bay and Beyond]

Terrence McKeegan is Vice President and Senior Counsel for the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), and serves as the Director of the International Organizations Law Group, C-FAM's public-interest law arm. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Legal Studies which includes the Edmund Burke Fellowship and the International Organizations Law Group.  As head of C-FAM’s New York office, he is the managing editor of the weekly Friday Fax publication and responsible for advancing C-FAM’s mission to defend life and family at the United Nations and other international institutions.
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