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?  

Is ‘The Dictator Pope’ Sex-Obsessed?

Extracts below, from report on Lifesitenews, which we recommend you read in full here

June 6, 2018 (One Peter Five) – It is a story that reads like a passage from The Dictator Pope: Pope Francis recently accepted the age-related resignation of Héctor Aguer, the Archbishop of La Plata, Argentina – the capital city of the Buenos Aires province – and will replace him with his close confidant and ghostwriter, Archbishop Víctor Manuel “Tucho” Fernández. Not only did the pope accept the resignation of Archbishop Aguer within just a few days of its mandatory submission, he also ordered him, through the nunciature, to immediately leave the diocese and not to remain there for his retirement…

This stern method of operation reveals, in the eyes of the writer of the Wanderer post, an “unveiled revenge and manifestation of the lack not only of Christian but also human virtues, and even of the most elemental chivalry” as it is shown by Pope Francis. The article continues, saying that Mons. Aguer “had a good reputation and he was appreciated by most of the Argentine faithful, as well, because of the clarity with which he said things and because of his courage in defending the Gospel.” Moreover, he was especially clear with regard to the problem of abortion. (See here a CNA report which shows his impressive language and resistance in 2007.) In fact, even his final homily on June 2nd was dedicated in large part to admonishing those considering voting in support of legalization of elective abortion in Argentina later this month. Only at the very end of his sermon did he reveal that the Holy See had informed him this Corpus Christi homily was to be his “farewell” to the people he had served for so long.

“Heal Me With Your Mouth – The Art of Kissing” is a book that was authored by the new Archbishop of La Plata, Argentina: Víctor Manuel Fernández in 1995.  

The report from the Wanderer continues: “In the midst of the debate over abortion, Aguer’s voice had been particularly clear, and Catholics who are fighting a good battle found true leadership in him.” In a piercing conclusion, the author wonders if this “silver bullet” – removing Archbishop Aguer only to replace him with a direct agent of the Bergoglian “reform” who will undo much of his predecessor’s work – will backfire on Francis himself: “To remove him in such a humiliating way will cause many of those faithful to wind up understanding who Bergoglio really is.”

Subsequently, the Wanderer blog presents much about the background of Archbishop Fernández and his personal history in Argentina, based on eyewitness accounts. The author alleges that Fernández is known for being a careerist willing to advance his own position at the expense of his peers. Most importantly, the blog says that Fernández has a large influence over Pope Francis’ teaching, to include his Apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Sandro Magister’s work exposing that several passages of AL are essentially plagiarisms of Fernández’ own earlier writings are referenced on this point.

Not mentioned – but very significant to this story – is the fact that these writings of Fernández that were later transformed, in part, into Amoris Laetitia, were the same ones that got him in trouble with the conservative Argentinian bishops in the first place. As Sandro Magister reported in May of 2016, “they actually gave cause to the Congregation for Catholic Education to block his candidacy for the position of rector of the Universidad Católica Argentina.”

It is with this understanding that one can begin to see why suspicions of revenge are on the lips of some Argentinian Catholics. The cleric who was opposed for his unorthodox positions has not only seen them included in the seminal work of a pope – but has now been promoted and placed by that same pope in the position of one of his most noteworthy opponents.

Also highlighted by the Wanderer is Fernández’ 1995 book, Heal Me With Your Mouth – The Art of Kissing, a text well-known to critics of Fernández. Perhaps even more shockingly, the blog quotes from an article written by Fernández shortly after the papal election of Bergoglio, in which, while seeking to defend the new pope, Fernández uses vulgar phrases such as “let’s not f*** [around]” (“No jodamos”) and “sh**,” saying, for example, that “Bergoglio did not sh** anyone” (“Bergoglio no cagó a nadie”). [We are sorry to have to use such words here, but they are very revealing of the mind and recklessness of this prelate who was made an archbishop only two months after Bergoglio became a pope.] This was Fernández’ attempt at painting a sympathetic portrait of Bergoglio, saying that with him there is now a chance “to bring Christ back into the center of the Church.”  End of Extracts – Read entire report here

Comment:

Hardly surprising that Pope Francis didn’t bother to issue a statement exhorting Catholics to vote NO in the recent abortion referendum in Ireland, when he makes short work of an archbishop who “was especially clear with regard to the problem of abortion.”  We’ve never been convinced by Francis ramblings about “mercy” –  he’s anything but merciful in his treatment of those he clearly considers to be enemies. And that’s where mercy counts.  To rub salt in the wound, he appoints as Aguer’s successor, the author of a book on “Kissing” – what kind of Pope would DO that? A pope more in the mould of sex addict Bill Clinton than Saint Pius X?   

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? 

Evil in Vatican: “Disorientation, Chaos & Scandal Marks Francis’ Pontificate”

Pope Francis

VATICAN, May 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Vatican conference has wrapped up featuring controversial pop-star Katy Perry speaking on transcendental meditation, disgraced Lettergate monsignor Dario Viganò delivering a talk on “Fake News,” and a “meditating eye” charm bangle given as a gift to select participants…

On day three of the Vatican conference, Perry joined a discussion on “Impacting Children’s Health Through Meditation Globally” with her mentor, Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation. Roth is also the mentor to Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz on Transcendental Meditation…

“For Katy Perry to speak about Transcendental Meditation from the same seat used by the Pope during major Church meetings is symbolic of the chaos, disorientation and scandal that marks this pontificate,” a source close to the Vatican told LifeSiteNews. “It would be one thing to have her presence moderated by a Church leader, but to have the podium given over to celebrity TM proponents with no Church voice to counter them is unconscionable.”

The source added: “It’s tragically emblematic of today’s culture: when the Church chooses to be absent, the world steps in to fill the vacuum.” [emphasis added]

 Read rest of the article here – and don’t miss the paragraphs headed “I Kissed a Girl”, Fighting the Nuns, Katy, Cannibalism and the Occult and Funding Planned Parenthood…

Comment:

Laughably, Lifesitenews adds:  An official in the Pontifical Council for Culture told LifeSitenews the plan was for the guests promoting transcendental meditation to be able to air their ideas which would then be “robustly challenged” — an exercise, he said, that would educate Catholic participants attending the Conference about the nature of some of the current challenges to the Faith in healthcare settings.” 

Like, er, who would know how to begin to challenge these New Age ideas when Catholics have been encouraged to involve themselves in them for years now. Adverts for Yoga classes are not uncommon on parish notice boards, and Catholic schools don’t teach the most basic doctrine, let alone the niceties of occultism. No surprise then, that the report continues… Drum roll….

Despite these aims, the ideas were not robustly challenged during or after the panel discussion.   

Now, there’s a surprise – not! 

Update:

See video and thread on Catholic Devotions…

Questions: Would YOU “Ask Father”?

Our American blogger, RCA Victor, writes…

Following up on the notion that the CT blog could be a sort of cyber-parish for modern Catholics, esp. as a source of orthodox catechesis, here’s a thought:

Is there a traditional priest up your sleeve who would be willing to answer questions from readers in the form of a blog topic, every so often? You could call it “Ask Father” or something of the sort, and create a separate email for these questions so you don’t get swamped. Webmaster or someone on the CT Team could collect the questions and forward them to Father, he could supply the answers, and the Team could post them.  End. 

Editor replies...

This, and similar suggestions, are put to us from time to time.  I find the idea understandable on one level, but very puzzling on another.  Here’s why. 

It is the ordained who are causing and/or supporting/perpetuating the crisis in the Church.  

I do have to admit, however,  that, even before I became aware of the crisis, I am on record as saying to various friends that a priest is the last person I would ever approach to discuss a personal problem.  It’s a kind of instinct.  Even from the age of 11 years when enquiring about membership of the junior Legion of Mary, I was not encouraged by our curate… I later discovered that he was the Spiritual Director of the parish group!  Clericalism is still a major problem in the Church and my own sense is that, when priests are so lacking in elementary understanding of the basic lay vocation, I can’t really be confident in the sort of answers they would give in any area of doubt, whether moral, religious or spiritual. Very recently a priest pointed out to me that St Catherine of Siena could criticise popes because she had been given a special grace from God – not because she was a Confirmed Soldier of Christ. So, that was me and moi put in our respective places! Now, of course, St Catherine of Siena was a great mystic and saint with a very important and special mission from God, but there was nothing to stop God choosing a priest or bishop for the task. The fact that He chose a lay woman signals to us that everyone, men, women and children, must be active lay apostles. That priests are simply not aware of that fact themselves, which is why it is seldom, if ever, a topic for preaching,  does not fill me with confidence that their answers to key questions and advice would be solidly reliable. 

The priestly vocation is to dispense the sacraments and preach the Faith.  From time to time, we’ve had priest contributors to this blog as part of their duty to “preach the Faith” but they tend not to stay the course. Perseverance in the work of the lay apostolate is not a widespread virtue.  The other day I was searching for a comment among very old blog topics and was astonished at the names of bloggers I’d totally forgotten.   They come and they go, priests included.  And I have to say that of the several priests who have blogged here, none have been “traditionalists” …  Indeed, when I asked one “traditionalist” priest if he reads our blog he replied in the negative, all the while assuring me that he supported what we are doing. Truly, you couldn’t make it up. Who was it said: “the blog has been betrayed, even by those who should have contributed to it?” 

So, in terms of “orthodox catechesis”, I would expect “traditional” priests to participate in our discussions and since they don’t, I lack confidence in their willingness to commit to the kind of role which RCA Victor (and others before him) suggest. And as for addressing individual concerns? Well…

I don’t see priests as problem-solvers; even “traditionalist” and “traditional leaning” priests don’t always get it right, and might do a great deal of damage with their “advice”. I remember some years ago, when my mother was elderly and with mobility issues, so that I was reluctant to leave her for any length of time in case she fell,  a priest made a comment about my spasmodic attendance at his weekday Masses. I did try to attend when I could but that entailed recruiting a  “mother-sitter” and although my siblings were happy to help when they could, they were in full time employment and had their own work and family commitments. They were already committed to staying with my mother on Sundays and Holy Days, to let me get to Mass.  When the subject next arose and I “asked Father” if he thought attending a weekday Mass took precedence over my duty to my mother, he replied, slowly… “Yes …I think so”.  Wrong!  For me to abandon my sick mother in order to attend a weekday Mass would have been sinful, not virtuous.  So, recommending priests to those seeking sound spiritual, religious and moral advice, is something of a daunting task these days. 

As things stand, when I do, occasionally, receive emails from people asking me to recommend a priest, I suggest one of the SSPX-affiliated priests, who has given me permission to distribute his contact details to anyone who asks.  This priest offers personal retreats for people on a one-to-one basis, in a beautiful setting, on the Scottish island of Stronsay, and I am always happy to email his details to anyone who wishes to contact him. 

However, if I “asked [any] Father” you care to name, to take on the role of a Catholic Truth Agony Uncle as outlined by our zealous RCA Victor I can say without fear of contraception contradiction, that he would decline the job.  Even with a six figure salary (£000.000) 😀

Of course, if YOU are a priest reading this who would relish the role – feel free to say so loud and clear. Your appointment begins with immediate effect!