Australia: Priests Facing Jail for Refusing to Break Seal of Confession…

From Lifesitenews

CANBERRA, Australia, June 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A new law in Australia requires Catholic priests in Canberra to break the sacred seal of confession to report a child-sex abuser. The law, which has drawn fierce opposition from Archbishop Christopher Prowse of Canberra, could result in faithful priests being jailed who refuse to comply.

                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

A bill passed on June 7 by the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) extends mandatory reporting of child abuse to cover churches and church activities, including the Catholic confessional. All the political parties in the Assembly supported the measure.

A  Catholic priest cannot violate the seal of the confessional, which means that he cannot repeat what he is told by a penitent confessing his or her sins, without incurring automatic excommunication. The Catholic Church teaches that confession is a sacrament, a place of encounter between the Christian and Jesus Christ. The priest who hears the confession is merely Christ’s instrument of forgiveness.

Hitherto the confessional was exempt from ACT’s reporting laws; from March 31, 2019, priests who do not report confessions regarding child abuse to the police risk prosecution.

Archbishop Prowse slammed the new law, saying “priests are bound by a sacred vow to maintain the seal of the confession. Without that vow, who would be willing to unburden themselves of their sins, seek the wise counsel of a priest and receive the merciful forgiveness of God?”

Prowse, the archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, wrote an essay in the Canberra Times last week explaining why legislating against the seal of confession will do much harm and no good.

“First, what sexual abuser would confess to a priest if they thought they would be reported?” he asked.

Prouse explained that it is the common experience of pastors that child abusers don’t confess their crimes to either priests or police. If the seal was removed, the theoretical possibility abusers might confess and be counselled to turn themselves in would be lost.

“Second, the government itself has acknowledged [with] the [Catholic] church’s ‘Truth, Justice and Healing Council… that […] it [was] difficult to see systematic abuse of the seal of confession,” Prowse wrote. “People who attend confession are sorry for their sins, indicate resolve not to sin again and seek God’s mercy. Pedophiles carry out evil and unspeakable criminal acts. They hide their crimes; they do not self-report.”

Third, he pointed out that priests do not necessarily know the identities of people who confess to them.

Fourth, he said that such a law attacks the inviolate seal of the confessional.
Originally the ACT government invited the archbishop to meet with the Attorney General to discuss the importance of both the protection of children and the seal of the confessional. However, the legislature began to debate the new bill before this meeting could take place. The archbishop decried this loss of opportunity for dialogue, pointing out that the proposed new law threatened religious freedom.

“Religious freedom is the freedom to hold a belief and, secondly, the freedom to manifest belief in community and in public, privately and individually in worship, observance, practice and teaching,” he explained.

“The government threatens religious freedom by appointing itself an expert on religious practises and by attempting to change the sacrament of confession while delivering not improvement in the safety of children,” he continued.

The new reporting laws will require priests to report allegations or offenses related to children to the ACT Ombudsman within 30 days.

Two members of the ACT Legislative Assembly thought forcing priests to break the seal of the confessional was a step in the wrong direction.

Andrew Wall, a former student of Marist College, a school notorious in Australia for child sex abuse allegations, said that while some of the child protection measures in the new law were “overdue”, he objected to its extension to the confessional.

According to the Canberra Times, Wall said forcing priests to break the confessional seal “significantly impinges on an individual’s freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of individual rights.”

Vicki Dunne, the second member, pointed out that a priest who breaks the seal of confession incurs an excommunication that can be lifted only by the pope. In addition, it would undermine Catholics’ trust in the “sacred, sacramental and sacrosanct” rite.

“We need to stop and think twice before we pass legislation that requires Catholic priest to break the seal of the confession,” she had warned.

Comment: 

I have to admit, golden beaches, beautiful homes and sunny climate notwithstanding, I’ve never felt the slightest desire to visit Australia, let alone live there. Now it’s on my list of countries in which I will never set foot.  I mean, the sheer nerve of the  grand-sounding numpties at the ‘Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory’ to threaten  jail for Catholic priests who adhere to a law of the Church which is entirely rooted in and bound up in divine law, as expressed in the above image, is breathtaking.

Would Australia dare to interfere with – and legislate against – any other religion, as it has outlawed a sacrosanct tenet of Catholicism?  It is, of course, a stupid and unworkable law, as outlined in the Church’s response above but it is revealing of the bigotry and nastiness of the Australian lawmakers that they would even think of passing such an evil law … the weather may be sunny over there in Aussie-land but they can keep it.   I’ll not be visiting Australia – ever.  What about you?  

Informed Choice: Should Catholics Campaign For Televised Abortions? 

 From Herald Scotland…

The Catholic Church has opened a “pro-life office” in Scotland to co-ordinate a campaign against abortion in a move described by pro-choice campaigners as a “backlash” after the Republic of Ireland voted to overturn a ban.

One of the country’s most senior Catholic clerics, Archbishop Leo Cushley (pictured below), cut the ribbon at the campaign hub in Edinburgh three days after the referendum in the Republic which delivered a landslide victory for the repeal side , by 66.4 per cent to 33.6 per cent…

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Herald, Archbishop Cushley said the new pro-life office at the Gillis Centre in Edinburgh would aim to build a “democratic consensus” around “legislative change” in Scotland, where it is legal to end a pregnancy during the first 24 weeks...

Archbishop Cushley said: “One of the many lessons of the recent referendum in Ireland is that those of us who seek to promote a culture of life have a distance to go in terms of winning over hearts and minds to the pro-life cause and that, really, is one of the key tasks of our new pro-life office.
  Source – Herald Scotland

Comment:

If  people see the reality of abortion – if they see the “products” of abortion – arms, legs, heads, various organs – lying in dishes in what has been, for that baby boy or girl, a death camp, the pro-lifers will soon “win over hearts and minds”.  Until then, the pro-life organisations will go on paying for premises and glossy brochures (not to mention salaries) that make not one jot of difference to those same hearts and minds.   

Various operations have been televised – click here for a list – so why not abortions?

Instead of worrying about presentation and not upsetting anyone, the pro-life activists must come to realise that it is ONLY by upsetting the pro-abortion lobby and the wider public that they will have any chance of ending the State-sanctioned murder of the unborn  in the UK.

Just think of the publicity, the headlines, the TV interviews, the radio discussions, if, instead of announcing a new office, Archbishop Cushley had announced the launching of an important and very serious campaign to give women genuine choice by allowing us all to see abortions being performed. Tact and Diplomacy hasn’t worked, and it won’t work now.  In fact, it never works. Just ask Pontius Pilate…

 

Catholic Truth Goes To Ireland…

A small group of us will be in Ireland for a couple of days later this week,  leafleting in support of the pro-life campaign in the forthcoming abortion referendum.  

News updates will be posted on this thread, and any statistics on abortion in the UK that you think will help us when we speak to Irish people on the streets of Dublin on Thursday and Friday, will be most welcome.  Please post as many facts as you can find – we need to be well equipped to convince the “undecided” as, sadly, the humanity of the unborn child doesn’t seem to be sufficient in the face of the propaganda about the woman’s alleged right to choose.  We WILL do our best to counter this argument, since it’s not HER body that the choice is about, but about the body – and soul – of the unborn baby. Our excellent little leaflet highlights this fact, that the child being destroyed by abortion was destined for eternal life, known by God from all eternity. 

Above all, please pray for our trip – we’ll only be there on Thursday all day and then on Friday, the day of the referendum, so time is short.  We have organised 3,000 leaflets to distribute so we will be very busy during the two days. 

Our leaflet includes some details about Gianna Care – a practical pro-life group – so please spread this website around, send it to your friends and relatives in Ireland, for them to use in campaigning to save the 8th amendment of the Irish Constitution which protects the right to life of the unborn child. 

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us!

 

Why Increased Violence In The West?

From The Root of the Violence: Our Culture

There have been too many tragic mass murders in the last century in American history, spurring on lots of talk of gun control. I’m not about to deny there should be gun reform to an extent. Background checks, mental health checks, references attesting to good, non-violent character to get a weapon seems to make sense. However, the problem is not how people are killing, it is the fact they are killing. We cannot put restrictions on everything that kills (even forks would be prohibited then) and arson and cars can, like guns, kill a great mass of people very quickly. What we need to do, though, is get to the root of the problem. Why is there such violence? Why are people killing? The answer is the devaluation of life prevalent in today’s culture.

We have people playing God. In many places around the world, society has legalized abortion and euthanasia, laws which in themselves devalue life, so no surprise life isn’t valued as it should be since society has already “legalized the right to kill” in many ways. Because society is trying to tell its citizens that truth is no longer objective, but subjective, these citizens can now legally choose whether or not the unborn child is a child or not, and whether or not they should live themselves. Society thinks the line is drawn there, but it’s wrong because once somebody can choose who they perceive as worth living in the child and in themselves, who is to stop them from broadening this view to everyone else around them? Mother Teresa once said: “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?” How true! There is nothing more disturbing and unnatural than a mother abandoning the one human that is most innate in her to protect, proving herself worse than the animals. How then can we be surprised with the amount of violence now if such an atrocious crime is deemed normal?

This message that can stem to violence can also be found in our culture’s music, in its movies, its video games, its books, the advertisements in the mall and on TV, the magazines, and news to name a few. I’m not going to touch base on all of them, but I will touch base on some. Let’s start with video games. I’m not about to say that everybody who plays those types of video games is going to turn out violent themselves. I know plenty of people myself that do all those things and aren’t violent. However, I do think that spending long hours immersed in this form of recreation can help desensitize you to real-world violence. And while it is true, many are able to distinguish reality from these fictional games, it is also true that some who, perhaps, have mental health problems, will not have such an easy time distinguishing, which, of course, can lead to some serious problems.

Dr. Mark Appelbaum (chairman of the American Psychological Association’s [APA] Task Force on Violent Media), said that while there was still not enough evidence to prove video games are linked to actual acts of violence, he did say, “…the link between violence in video games and increased aggression in players is one of the most studied and best established in the field.” And the report stated: “No single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently. Rather, it is the accumulation of risk factors that tends to lead to aggressive or violent behavior. The research reviewed here demonstrates that violent video game use is one such risk factor.” (APA, 2015) So, from this we can draw that, while violent video games may not necessarily lead to violence, if the child is affected by other risk factors such as a broken home, abuse, bad influences, mental health problems, etc. then frequent exposure to violent video games and movies can, potentially, help lead to violence.

Some say a culture is oftentimes portrayed by its music. Well, if that’s the case, no wonder there’s such violence in America when we have artists like Eminem who easily get away with songs like Murder, Murder, in which he spouts out very violent lyrics, talking of shooting a police man, saying things like, ”All I see is blood and murder, my mind state”. How such lyrics could have any type of positive influence on a young, developing brain is beyond me. In studies accumulated by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), they found certain types of music, particularly heavy metal, were connected to an increase of suicide, reckless behavior and stereotyped attitudes toward women. In one study, performed in 1999, they asked 345 mothers whose children attended a public school, if they thought the violent messages in rap music contributed to school violence. 47% answered in the affirmative. (American Academy of Pediatrics, Paragraph 9) If we want our children to grow up valuing life, we need to address this problem in the music industry. We need to make sure our children are surrounded with positive messages, not messages promoting violence, disrespect toward authority and law, and lustful behavior. And we need to make sure our children understand why such violent, impure, and hateful messages they are receiving through such music and other sources is wrong.

What also disconnects people from reality is social media. Facebook, for instance, offers you your own page where you can basically build up your own virtual fan-club. Don’t get me wrong, social media is almost essential for small business owners and staying in contact with friends and family that don’t live nearby.There are a lot of advantages to be sure. However, one of the many disadvantages is the egotistical and addictive nature of it, as well as the disconnect to reality. There was a case of a woman who got stuck inside a burning car in Beaverton, Oregon. (Riverio, KPTV) In response, people got out their phones and recorded it. Why?

Well, probably to post on their Facebook walls, Youtube channel, Instagram, whatever, for more than likely the fame: the likes, the shares, the feeling of popularity, becoming known. Here, a woman is getting seriously injured, and instead of reacting with heroism or even pausing to at least pray, they are getting out their cellphones as if this were the times of the Roman Colosseum and this was just a show and not a life at risk. How utterly corrupt! How shameful! That our generation reacts in such a way as if this weren’t reality at all, but a show on T.V. they’re simply recording to later replay.

There is a great sense of self-entitlement and self-absorption in today’s youth. The problem this self-absorption has is that it makes any life that is outside of the individual and their own circle of friends and family unimportant. Hence, the above story. Maybe if they were connected to this lady in a personal way, they would have responded with more concern, but because she was a stranger, empathy was completely lacking. They probably did not stop to consider that this woman had a family that cared about her, that her life was important. Many probably saw self-fame. Some probably were un-phased, or at least not as phased as they probably should’ve been. I doubt the realism really even hit many of them. Surely, they couldn’t have been too traumatized if they were still able to hit “record” on their phones during the episode. But that isn’t normal. It isn’t normal to be so desensitized to violence and the loss of life that you respond in such a selfish way.

Now let’s look at the lack of a proper family foundation. The lack of a good family foundation, especially, is a huge disadvantage to building a good character. Why? Because this family structure is supposed to implement in the child morals and discipline, something many in today’s world are lacking. In a study on broken families, it was found that neighborhoods with a high-crime rate were also characterized by a lack of father-figures in the home. However, they also found that in neighborhoods where there is a high amount of religious-practicing individuals, the crime rate was lower and that a strong parental bond with the child decreases the chances that the child will commit a crime (Marripedia).

At the root to all of it though is selfishness, pride, and the devil’s response: “I will not serve”. Many people no longer have God at the center of their lives, just themselves. Religion is lacking, or at least the practice of it. The Church is undergoing a serious crisis and even some of the clergy are spewing out this same nonsense our culture is, this nonsense which will only lead to destruction. We will not stop these mass murders if we do not teach our children their Faith, which teaches them to value life, all life, not just the life that matters to them, not just the life they deem important or see as life, all life including their own.  Source

Comment:

So, which is the culprit?  Which of the elements identified by the above author, is the root of today’s widespread violence across western societies? 

Abortion? Video games? Guns? Knives? Music? Movies? Books? Advertisements? News? Family breakdown? Lack of father figure in home? The crisis in the Church? Rejection of God?

And to the above list, we might add working mothers – might the lack of a mother-presence in the home 24/7 be a contributing factor?  Let’s hear it! 

Should Catholics Welcome IVF Babies?

Scroll to 13.11 to hear the reaction of English Catholic politician, Jacob Rees-Mogg to the news of  Ruth Davidson’s IVF pregnancy – click here to read the news on announcement in April.  Leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland, Ruth is in a same-sex “marriage”. 

Since the allegedly traditional Catholic Rees-Mogg is already on public record saying that he would attend a same-sex wedding, perhaps his reaction to Ruth’s news is not too surprising.  IVF doesn’t seem to be a matter of concern to Catholics these days – it’s not a hot homily topic, so what are we to make of it – DO we welcome IVF as a legitimate and perfectly moral means of bringing babies into this world? 

Thinking Through Catholic Truth…

The above is the self-explanatory  introduction to our new series, “Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions… Answered”.

Topics already in the pipeline include Scripture, Spirituality, Catholic education  and the “Institutional Church”.  

If you have a topic you’d like covered tell us in the comments, or if you would like to participate in any of our videos, let us know, either by commenting below or emailing the editor on editor@catholictruthscotland.com   

Click here to view the Catholic Truth videos posted on our website

Are Catholics Naïve About The Media?

Comment:

Nobody trusts the media today – apparently opinion polls show that journalists and politicians are neck and neck in sharing the public’s dismal opinion about their integrity.  Yet, generally speaking Catholics seem to believe whatever they are told, judging by recent high profile controversies. The Catholic hierarchy generally go along with the popular view, as fed to us via the media. Is this naiveté or charity?