Confessions about the Catholic Church

Venise Alstergren writes: Re. “‘A sense of unease and misgiving’: Catholic abuse on the Tiwi islands” (yesterday). I’m just wondering if it occurs to anyone that the reason the Catholic Church is so full of priestly p-edophilia is precisely because of the secrets of the confessional? The very thing which Father Frank Brennan swears he will go to jail, rather than agree to a law which allows mandatory reporting of the confessional. Cardinal Pell is bitterly opposed to the same concept. Whereas in Victoria, our less than illustrious Premier, Ted Baillieu, has already outlawed this sort of coverage.

So, a priest who is a p-edophile and confesses his crimes to another priest, will not be facing a trial because only the other priest will know about it. What a wonderful system. Not!

Caroline Storm writes: Cardinal Pell was reported as saying yesterday: “The seal of confession is inviolable. [But] I would never hear the confession of a priest who is suspected of such a thing.” The “thing” is predatory s-xual abuse and here His Eminence (if I were speaking, instead of writing his title, the irony would be clear) presents the interesting combination of a truth sacred to his church and a self-serving lie. Canon 986 of the Roman Catholic Church states “all to whom by virtue of office the care of souls is committed are bound to hear the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them who reasonably request confession”.

The seal of the confessional inviolable. The selection by a priest as to whether he will hear a person’s “reasonable request” for confession is not. Please, can one of Crikey‘s writers expand on such a brazen statement?

First Dog’s foul mouth

Alex writes: I am a big fan of First Dog on the Moon and in fact have been checking the Crikey shop to see if the 2013 calendar is available yet. However, I was a bit alarmed recently when I turned the page on the 2012 calendar to November and saw the word “f-cking” printed. I’m not going to be able to have this on display at work so have had to take it down for November. If you haven’t yet finalised the new calendar, would you please be able to make sure there’s no naughty words so it doesn’t have to be censored at work?

Peter Fray

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