The Big Questions, a discussion show broadcast live on BBC 1 on Sundays, recently included the topic: Are any sins unforgivable”
The presenter, Nicky Campbell, inevitably raised the issue of child abuse by priests. He turned to the token Catholic on the panel, to suggest that priests should report anyone to the police who confessed that sin and he, Professor Francis Davis (impressive academic title notwithstanding) hadn’t a clue how to explain and defend the seal of Confession. It took the Anglican a couple of seats away, to do so. In fact, Davis appears to concede that there is a case for breaking the inviolable seal of Confession. Tell me if I’m misunderstanding him. You can click here to see the show for yourself – scroll along to 39.14 to hear Nicky introduce the question directed at Francis Davis and notice his apparent concession at 41.06.
Davis has a column in the Catholic Times, which I stopped reading because Mgr Loftus’ column is published just below the Davis piece and I just can’t take both on the same day, over the same cuppa. I need a break, so I generally forget, conveniently, to go back to digest the Davis stuff – and it is “stuff” – the last column I read (5/2/16) is akin to a personal diary of his drinking habits as he participated in the fashionable Dry January campaign. When he writes about Catholic matters it’s a case of not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Not sure why he’s published above the Mgr Loftus column but it sure ain’t to provide a contrast. They’re both “liberals” to their fingertips.
As we enter Lent today, Ash Wednesday, we might reflect on and discuss the importance of Confession – and explain to the lurkers why no priest may ever divulge anything they learn in Confession.