On the Confession of Child Abuse

From The Washington Post:

“If someone tells you a child has been abused, the confession doesn’t seem to me a cloak for hiding that business. How can you hear a confession about somebody abusing a child and the matter must be sealed up and you mustn’t talk about it?”

That’s the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, the second highest official in the Anglican Church. He’s actively calling for the end of confidentiality in confessions of sexual crimes against children.

Personally, I think it’s way beyond time for that change in church policy and I applaud the Anglicans. But I suspect not all the faithful will agree with me. There are so many issues and emotions wrapped up in the sacrament of confession – not to mention a great many stand up comedy routines. It will be very hard to pick and choose those crimes that will be protected and those that will not. Some will cry “Slippery Slope,” and claim that there is no clear place to draw the line.

What do you think about the idea of deconfidentializing (to coin a term) confession/reconciliation of crimes against children? It sure would be nice to be able to arrest an abuser after only one child has been harmed rather than 40 or 50 as some priests have been able to manage over their careers in the priesthood before being stopped.

On the other hand, one would presume that this might have a chilling effect of those who would otherwise go ahead and confess this sin. So perhaps the net gain for children is actually zero. Something to think about.

Read the full story at The Washington Post

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