LONDON (LifeSiteNews) – A major report into child sexual abuse in the U.K., including in the Catholic Church, has recommended that the seal of Confession be done away with in order for priests to be required to report instances of abuse.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its complete report on October 20, detailing the extent of child abuse in a number of settings, including in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The over 450-page document is based on 2.5 million pages of evidence from 15 separate investigations.
A previous report specifically on child abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales was published in November 2020.
READ: Report shows Cdl. Nichols prioritized reputation of Pope Francis over allegations of child sex abuse
As part of its October 2022 report, IICSA makes 20 recommendations for the organizations referenced, calling for “systemic change.” This includes the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and the Anglicans.
Among the recommendations was a prominent call for a “mandatory reporting” law for child sex abuse, directly conflicting with the seal of Confession.
Such a law would make it a crime for individuals who work in “regulated activity or work in a position of trust” not to report details of sex abuse of which they were informed.
These individuals would have to report sexual abuse when they:
- receive a disclosure of child sexual abuse from a child or perpetrator; or
- witness a child being sexually abused; or
- observe recognised indicators of child sexual abuse.
Where the child is between 13 and 16 years old, however, a report need not be filed if the individual believes the relationship to be:
- “consensual and not intimidatory, exploitative or coercive.”
- if the child has not been, or is at risk of being harmed
- “there is no material difference in capacity or maturity between the parties engaged in the sexual activity concerned, and there is a difference in age of no more than three years.”
But if abuse is believed to be carried out by a person “in a position of trust,” then such exemptions do not apply.
IICSA noted that such a law would directly involve information received in the confessional. Writing about what level of certainty would be needed in order to report abuse, IICSA stated that:
In some cases, this is uncomplicated; ‘knowledge’ might be based on the fact that a reporter has witnessed the abuse, has seen evidence of it (by, for example, having seen incriminating messages or images) or has heard a confession by the perpetrator.
The report noted that “some core participants and witnesses argued that a mandatory reporting law ought to provide exemptions for some faith-based settings or personnel and, in particular, in the context of sacramental confession.” However, these arguments were rejected by IICSA when drawing up its proposals.
“Neither the freedom of religion or belief nor the rights of parents with regard to the education of their children can ever justify the ill-treatment of children or prevent governmental authorities from taking measures necessary to protect children from harm,” the report read.
As such, the report stated:
The Inquiry therefore considers that mandatory reporting as set out in this report should be an absolute obligation; it should not be subject to exceptions based on relationships of confidentiality, religious or otherwise.
The report and its recommendations have been sent to the Home Secretary. IICSA noted that it “expects the UK government, the Welsh Government and specified institutions to act upon its recommendations promptly and publish details of the steps they have taken within six months of the publication of this report.”
The UK government had already examined the possibility of a mandatory reporting law, opening up a public consultation on the matter in 2016. However, in 2018, the consultation concluded that the case for such a law had “not currently been made.”
While this complete report was not focused on the Catholic Church – which has already been the subject of a number of reports, chiefly the November 2020 document – the report summary paid primary attention to the Catholic Church.
“The investigation into the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales revealed a sorry history of child sexual abuse where abusive priests and members of religious orders and institutions preyed on children for prolonged periods of time,” the report stated, before continuing:
Between 1970 and 2015, the Church received more than 3,000 complaints against more than 900 individuals connected to the Church. In the same period, there were 177 prosecutions, resulting in 133 convictions. Millions of pounds have been paid to victims and survivors in civil proceedings. Since 2016, there have been more than 100 reported allegations of recent and non-recent child sexual abuse every year. The true scale of abuse over a 50-year period is likely to be much greater.
Responding to IICSA’s report, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) issued a statement saying it “welcomes this report, thanks the Inquiry for its work and will carefully study its contents and recommendations.”
The CBCEW noted that prior to the release of IICSA’s November 2020 report, the Church had begun its own safeguarding review. A newly organized Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency, established in April 2021, ensured that a range of changes were implemented, which “fully aligned with the Inquiry’s recommendations in the case study report.”
READ: These amazing hero priests died defending the seal of confession
***MAJOR UPDATE, November 10, 2022*** LifeSiteNews reported the bombshell statement issued by Archbishop Viganò, declaring that members of the “Bergoglian church” are no longer in union with the Church of Christ.
According to Archbishop Viganò:
the visible church, to which the world gives the name of Catholic Church and of which it considers Bergoglio as Pope, is no longer Church...
This statement was long overdue, and Archbishop Viganò is finally sounding the alarm — Pope Francis is leading the Church into something radically different than the Church established by Christ. Pope Francis cannot continue betraying the faithful by abdicating his duty as Universal Shepherd.
The time to redouble our efforts and fervently request that Pope Francis repent and be reconciled with the Church is NOW.
SIGN and SHARE. Defend the Church and demand that Pope Francis faithfully uphold the authentic Catholic faith!
Bishops from across the world have raised concern over Pope Francis' unfaithfulness to the 2,000+ years of Catholic teaching, and the recent statement by Archbishop Viganò is truly the breaking point into a new era for faithful Catholics.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT FROM LIFESITENEWS AND SIGN THIS PETITION TO DEFEND THE CHURCH NOW.
Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Fr. James Altman, and two dozen more faithful Catholic priests & scholars are publicly calling out Pope Francis for his outrageous, dangerous, and heretical teaching concerning reception of Holy Communion.
Pope Francis stated that "faith" is the only requirement for those who wish to receive Holy Communion in his June 29 Apostolic Letter on the liturgy, Desiderio desideravi.
This statement is dangerous because:
- The Council of Trent explicitly anathematized those who make this claim calling it 'heresy'
- Pope Francis omitted the essential step of repentance for sin to worthily receive the Eucharist.
- Pope Francis is thereby allowing the faithful to eat and drink condemnation on themselves, should they receive Holy Communion unworthily
- Pope Francis is supporting moral relativism, eradicating the clear distinction between good and evil
- Pope Francis is eradicating the need for the Sacrament of Confession
- Pope Francis is damaging the teaching office of the Church by sowing doubt and division among faithful Catholics
But there is a way to stop Pope Francis' modernist attack and defend the true Catholic teaching on Holy Communion.
Catholics everywhere must renounce Pope Francis' heresy and uphold the truth: only Baptized Catholics in the state of grace, and therefore free of mortal sin, can receive Holy Communion*.
For those in mortal sin, repentance and absolution must first be sought in the Sacrament of Confession before receiving the Eucharist*.
Pope Francis' statement would mislead many souls, which is why we need your help today to stand with Bishop Strickland, Fr. Altman, Bishop Schneider, and more.
TELL POPE FRANCIS: HOLY COMMUNION CAN ONLY BE RECEIVED IN THE STATE OF GRACE!
The growing list of faithful Catholics who are standing for the truth and bravely resisting Pope Francis' attempt to dilute the Church's moral authority is only growing. This is great news, but the news can't simply stop with you.
You must join the growing list of supporters to but a STOP to Pope Francis' heresy.
WATCH: LifeSiteNews' co-CEO and Editor-in-Chief, John-Henry Westen, fully breaks down the growing list of faithful Catholics choosing to resist Pope Francis' attack on the faith.
Stand with these faithful Catholics: Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, Bishop André Gracida, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Bishop Robert Mutsaerts, Father Gerald E. Murray, Father James Altman, Father John Lovell, Professor Claudio Pierantoni, Dr. John Lamont, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Professor Anna Silvas, Dr. Anthony Esolen, Professor John Rist, Professor Paolo Pasqualucci, Julia Meloni, George Neumayr, and LifeSite’s John-Henry Westen.
*However, if a Catholic is unable to attend Confession but has a grave reason for receiving the Eucharist (such as a priest who may be required to celebrate Mass at a given time but who is unable to go to Confession), such a person must be confident to the best of his ability that he have perfect contrition for any mortal sins that he may have committed before receiving Holy Communion in an exceptional situation.
Full statement by Catholic bishops and scholars correcting Pope Francis' heresy - LifeSiteNews
LifeSiteNews contacted the CBCEW, asking if they had a response to the IICSA’s recommendation regarding the seal of Confession. A spokesman replied that the CBCEW welcomed the report “simply because it’s an important report related to safeguarding that requires careful study and consideration.”
“In terms of the specific recommendations in the report that pertain to the Catholic Church,” added the spokesman, “we need to assess these and respond in due course.”
Should such a recommendation indeed become law, England and Wales would by no means be the only places to penalize Catholic priests in this way.
Yet only in 2019, the Apostolic Penitentiary at the Vatican wrote to priests, urging them to defend the seal of Confession with their life if necessary. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza wrote:
“the confessor’s defense of the sacramental seal, if it were necessary usque ad sanguinis effusionem, represents not only an act of dutiful ‘loyalty’ towards the penitent, but much more: a necessary witness – a ‘martyrdom’ — given directly to the salvific uniqueness and universality of Christ and the Church.”