Persecution begins against the Catholic Church in Australia

So things are heating up in Australia, with even conservative Catholic Tony Abbott supporting a Commission of Inquiry into sex abuse. If there’s going to an official inquiry, let’s broaden it to all .

Its worth noting that the Boy Scouts Association of America has last month revealed a massive amoung of historic child abuse cases within its membership. It’s estimated that the cases in the Boy Scouts will far exceed those in the US-based Catholic Church, by length, scale, and financial compensation. Its worth remembering that not all sex abuse occurs in church, but across all aspects of society.

This is why an inquiry must look into all dark corners of society, not just the Catholic Church.

For a really good breakdown of the issue occuring in Australia in regards to confession, see Lucia Maria at Conservative NZ’s post on Hysteria in Australia over what priests might hear in Confession .

As an aside, Lucia Maria, I wouldn’t read Whale Oil if you paid me to. That site and its author is vile, devious and consumed with lies. He is everything good Christians spend their lives battling against.

As always, Macdoctor cuts right to the core of the issue and said in the post:

Regardless of what you may think of the value of confession, even a politician should be able to see that the inevitable result of forcing priests to report confessions of criminal acts is that people will no longer confess them. The nett result is that no difference is made to preventing crime and the state interferes in church affairs to no purpose.

Boom. Absolutely true. Confessions must remain secret, else sinners will stop confessing on fear of being outed (for all kinds of sins) and therefore prevent themselves of entereing Heaven.

Pray for the Catholic Church in Australia and Cardinal Archbishop George Pell for the courage and strength to stand up for the Church.

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

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    Comments: 11

    1. Don the Kiwi November 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      My understanding that the enquiry is not just into the Catholic Church, but across all social institutions as well. Cdl. Pell has welcomed the enquiry.

      It has always been a fact that abuse in the Catholic Church was always less than in other segments of society – see the Jay report on the clerical sex abuse in the USA. Its just that the Church was targetted, as being a wealthy organisation so there was “plenty of money to be got” – and of course, the anti-catholic forces were salivating at the thought of bringing the Church down.

    2. Werahiko November 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      Ummm Don it might also be that the Church talks a lot about sex and avoiding outside marriage and even, in many forms, inside marriage. Proof that people who vow before God to be celibate and spend 7-10 years in spiritual formation and believe they daily receive God himself in physical form are no more or less likely to commit pederasty than scoutmasters with a couple of days training probably came as something of a surprise. To find that superiors did not immediately report these child molesters and rapists to the police probably came as rather a shock. Hence the media interest in the Church. People like you Don, well-meaning though you no doubt are, who don’t get it, feed the media interest because it indicates that there are people in the church who have not learned the right things from all this. Your suggestion that raped and molested children, as adult survivors, are gold-digging is reprehensible and as far as I am aware has been rejected by every Bishop who has investigated these crimes.

      What you should be asking is why there is a canon which says a person who makes a false claim of sexual solicitation against a priest is denied absolution until amends are made, but there is no such canon requiring rapists and molesters of children who are priests to report themselves to the proper authorities, or be denied absolution.

    3. Don the Kiwi November 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      You totally mis-understand my comment. i think it is right that the Church be held to account for the misdeads of its clergy. The Church should be held to a higher account because of what we preach and believe. So I am in no way trying to diminish the culpability of priests and bishops who have committed these heinous offences, or who attempted to cover it up. Take, for example, Bp. Rembert Weakland of – I think – Mineapolis; what a disgusting piece of dirt he turned out to be; and more recently, that bishop in Florida – can’t recall his name off the top of my head.
      Having said that, there are those who were and are seeking to pillary the Church. There are those who seek to use the clerical abuse scandal as an opportunity to gain some of the Church’s “wealth” – there is an attorney in the USA who has openly stated this, and takes on every suggestion of abuse by the Church clergy, whether real or imagined. Also there was the case a few years ago of Cdl. Pell being accused of sexual abuse. He stood himself down until it was fully investigated – that case was one of attempting to get a financial gain.

      Have you read the book “Goodbye, Good Men”? A very good exposition of the problem.

    4. Lucia Maria November 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Hi Kereopa,

      Thanks for the link to my post! :thumbup_tb:

      As an aside, Lucia Maria, I wouldn’t read Whale Oil if you paid me to. That site and its author is vile, devious and consumed with lies. He is everything good Christians spend their lives battling against.

      I read Whale Oil, so that you don’t have to! He attacks Catholics and priests frequently, and so I feel that I need to provide some level of opposition to what he is saying, even if most of the time it’s like banging my head against a brick wall. :wallbash_tb:

      The latest series of conversations I was involved in lead me to take an extended break from blogging in an effort to detox. I really should taken advantage of being able to go to the Sacrament of Penance on Saturday (ironically enough) even though I’d been two weeks prior, as Saturday especially seemed particularly demonic in nature, and in hindsight I needed all the protection I could get.

      I have been praying for Cardinal Pell as well, he certainly needs it.

    5. Teresina November 21, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Lucia Maria, I read your post on hysteria on what priests might hear in confession, which is excellent and I thank you for that. Just a couple of points: firstly, if the confession was anonymous then the priest may not know who the penitent is and he is not at liberty to ask or to do anything to find out who the person is either or to give any indication that such person (if he suspected who it was) had come to him for confession. Secondly, as far as I’m aware, a priest can only refuse absolution if a penitent is not truly sorry and could not impose a condition on absolution, such as the person must turn themselves in. The priest could recommend that but then it would be over to the penitent to make that decision, the same with sin, such as murder or theft.

    6. Lucia Maria November 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm



      In regards to withholding absolution, with that post I didn’t get into too much specifics on how absolution is conditional in that case. It would work by imposing a penance, that if not performed, invalidates the confession. If a person doesn’t perform the penance given by the priest, then their confession is invalid, and their lack of penance and all mortal sins confessed previously need to be confessed again in future confessions. This is not my personal opinion, but what I was told by a priest who is also a canon lawyer during a lesson on the Sacrament of Penance.

      Also, I have experienced the refusal of absolution due to the life condition I was in at the time needed a conversation and agreement with another person before I could actually confess that particular sin. It was not because of lack of contrition on my part, it was more to do with other factors.

    7. el wardo November 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Hi Lucia Maria,

      I believe that what you were told is incorrect. There is nothing in canon law or in the catechism about an absolution being invalid if the penitent does not perform the penance. It is possible to forget, especially if it is a delayed penance or something urgent happens. If a priest absolves you of your sins then your sins are forgiven. Nothing that happens afterwards can change that.

      Canon law places an obligation on the penitent to perform the penance (981) but this obligation is not related to the absolution and does not invalidate it.

      Fr Z had a good post on this:

    8. Lucia Maria November 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      El Wardo,

      Thanks for the link to Fr Z. It does raise a few questions, so, I’m going to investigate further and report back (or on my blog as posts to tend to disallow comments here after a while). Unfortunately the priest who told me what I posted above is not here to question further, and I may have misremembered some of the details (thought I’m sure he did say that it was important to do the penance otherwise the confession is invalid, or may be indicated that it would be by the requirement to confess again). He was one of these rare priests that spent hours in the confessional, which, as wonderful as Fr Z is, I think he’s more an academic priest than one who is actually doing the same amount of work in the confessional.

      What I have found is that conditional absolution can be given, and therefore my whole premise of a priest saying that a person must turn themselves into police as part of their confession (though, maybe not penance) is correct. See this link in the Conditional Absolution section.

      From the Fr Z link, a person asks:

      You stated that Canon Law states: ” The penitent is bound personally to fulfil these penances.” How serious is the obligation?

      And it’s not answered. I seem to remember from what I was told that the obligation was serious, and if not fulfilled then that needs to be confessed at the next confession as if it were a mortal sin.

      Anyway, I’ll find out from other sources that I have …

    9. Teresina November 23, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      From what I have been able to find out, conditional absolution applies when, say, soldiers are absolved en masse before going into battle, on condition they go to confession as soon as they can. Also when a person is unconscious and the priest doesn’t know what that person’s disposition is he can give conditional absolution. Jimmy Atkin says this:

      “A priest cannot make his absolution conditional on you going and confessing a crime–i.e., he can’t assign it as a penance that you go tell the police (or anyone else) what you did.

      If he could do this then the seal of the sacrament would be meaningless as any priest could force any penitent to publicly disclose what he did.”

      So, like el wardo I think that what the priest told you was incorrect or he failed to explain it properly, as it seems conditional absolution involves having to confess again – that is the condition.

    10. Teresina November 23, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Lucia Maria, I checked out the link on confession in Fr Z’s blog and in the comments section someone raises the very question and Fr Z says, no. This is the link given by el wardo:

      “Can a priest assign a penance that asks for the penitent to turn themselves in to the police? For example, if a person confessed to murders as part of some serial killing rampage. [No, but that is a different topic.]”

      A priest can refuse absolution if a person is not truly repentant, as in living in a continual state of sin, but if given absolution is absolute.

    11. el wardo November 26, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Hi Lucia Maria,

      Interesting link on conditional absolution, I had thought that it only applies to conditions beforehand and not imposing requirements afterwards, such as a conditional baptism on the basis that the recipient was not already validly baptised – I know the late Fr Ernie Milne was conditionally baptised when he entered the Church as they weren’t certain that his previous baptism in another Christian faith was valid. He told me it went along the lines of “On the condition that you are not already baptised, I baptise you in the name of…”.

      I think your link says the same thing about requirements needing to be fulfilled afterwards-

      Following a general law, whensoever the condition leaves in suspense the effect intended by the Sacrament, the Sacrament itself is null and void

      That seems to me to say that if a condition is required for fulfilment after the sacrament then the sacrament is invalid. Which is what I understood with sacraments, if they are validly given at the time then nothing afterwards can change that. Looking at the scrament of marriage, many people think that a marriage is only valid after consummation, but that’s not correct, it’s valid or not at the marriage itself, and you don’t consummate it at that point as there would be lots of people around including your parents and you’re in church and there’d be a priest there and it would be really ackward, so that’s done later in private but it doesn’t affect the validity of the sacrament. While there is a difference between a valid consummated marriage and a valid non consummated marriage they are both valid.

      Also you’d expect that if performing the penance is a requirement for the validity of the sacrament it would be mentioned in the catechism or canon law – it’s a huge thing to miss out.

      therefore my whole premise of a priest saying that a person must turn themselves into police as part of their confession (though, maybe not penance) is correct.

      I’m also sure that’s not correct. I looked into this a few years back, possibly when I was doing a few papers with Good Shepherd Collage, a priest cannot require you to reveal your sins to the police, you wife, your boss or anyone as the priest would be breaking the seal of confession, which is absolute. Not only is a priest bound to not reveal himself what was revealed in a confession, he can’t make the penitent reveal it to anyone else.

      The Jimmy Akin link Teresina provided covers that well.

      If a penitent told the priest that he would not go to the police that can be taken as a sign that the penitent is not truly contrite, and if the priest does not believe the penitent is truly contrite that could be a reason for the priest to not give absolution, but no priest can require a penitent to reveal any part of the confession to a third party, they just can’t do that under the seal of confession.

      Sorry Kereopa for derailing your thread.