The Catholic Church must deal with the recent, unfulfilled promise of Pope Benedict XVI that it will never again hide the sins of pastoral administrators. His admirable condemnation of past misconduct and his allusion to extending the statute of limitations for claims against offending priests are appropriate first steps. TWO NECESSARY CHANGESTo read more, click on the link below
Without two changes in the Church's practices — its absolute rule about the pastoral privilege by which confidential confessions are invariably protected and its resort to confidentiality agreements in settling complaints of priests' misconduct — his admonitions will prove illusory. The Vatican's secrecy policies have impeded attempts to expose and punish wrongdoings by priests....
There are two secrecy problems that need to be addressed, and redressed. First, the confidentiality of the confessional, intrinsic to Church doctrine, while benign in most situations, also has led to terrible injustices....
The ONE ESSENTIAL point that this article proposes is absolutely a non-starter for the Church: the violation of the seal of the confessional. The author tries to minimize the importance of the Seal and posits that it is simply a reflection of a culture of silence. He is absolutely wrong.
The seal of Confession does not contribute to the tendency of the Church to deal with sexual predators. It exists only to preserve the integrity of the sacrament - ensuring that any sinner can have the capacity to bring even the gravest matter before God without fearing that his/her transgression will ever become public. It respects the right of anyone to turn to God to confess and receive His forgiveness and allows the presence of a priest to help to confess fully and completely.
As a social worker and as a priest, I know very well that the seal of the confessional has been responsible for assisting many souls to find peace that they could not attain via psychotherapy.
I posted this article not to suggest that the Seal should be compromised in any way, but simply to point out that the scandals are bringing forth many forces that albeit well intentioned are threatening the Church and its adherents. It is just a further manifestation of evil effects that the infidelity of priests and the stupidity of Bishops have wrought upon the Church.
H/T to Mary G. for pointing out the need for this explanation
Secrets of the Catholic Church