California bill would require Catholic priests to report child sex abuse revealed in confession

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California state lawmakers are introducing a invoice that might strip clergymen of their authorized safety for the Catholic Church’s sacrament of confession relating to youngster sexual abuse.

The “Eradicating Clergy Exemption from Youngster Abuse and Neglect Reporting” invoice, launched Wednesday by Democratic State Sen. Jerry Hill, removes an exemption within the state’s “mandated reporter” regulation that enables all members of the clergy to withhold data of suspected youngster abuse from regulation enforcement if that data is obtained throughout a “penitential communication,” resembling Catholic confession.

Clergymen are only one class of execs required by state regulation to inform regulation enforcement about suspected abuse, however not like academics and therapists, clergy members have an exception in the event that they be taught concerning the suspected abuse throughout confession.

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“The regulation ought to apply equally to all professionals who’ve been designated as mandated reporters of those crimes — with no exceptions, interval,” Hill mentioned in a press release. “The exemption for clergy solely protects the abuser and locations kids at additional threat.”

Pope Francis walks towards a confessional field throughout a penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica on the Vatican, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Picture/Andrew Medichini, Pool)
(The Related Press)

This comes as Catholic bishops from world wide are assembly on the Vatican in an effort to place an finish to the issue of clergy sexual abuse.

The Golden State will probably be debating the proper to personal penance versus a want to guard kids, as either side make their ethical arguments.

California Legal professional Normal Xavier Becerra has introduced an investigation into clergy intercourse abuse, calling for victims to return ahead.

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The California Catholic Convention got here out in opposition to the proposed laws.

“Inserting authorities into the Confessional does nothing to guard kids and every little thing to erode the basic constitutional rights and liberties we get pleasure from as People,” Steve Pehanich, director of communications and advocacy for the California Catholic Convention, instructed the Los Angeles Instances.

In keeping with the Nationwide Catholic Reporter, the seal of confession is taken into account sacred and “any priest who straight betrays a penitent would incur a right away and computerized excommunication.”

Father John Landry of Massachusetts, who mentioned a priest should honor the seal of confession “even when he’s threatened with imprisonment, torture or dying,” decried the worldwide effort.

California is the newest in a rising variety of states to mandate that clergymen report youngster sexual abuse to regulation enforcement, regardless of how they be taught of it. Connecticut, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia all have related statutes in place.

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“Like the traditional Roman emperors used to attempt to break younger Christian virgins by threatening to reveal them to brothels in the event that they didn’t capitulate to their whims,” Landry wrote within the Nationwide Catholic Register, “so nonetheless immediately some leaders and governments attempt to break clergymen’ constancy by forcing them to violate the confessional seal.”

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