keywords: Seal

  • RELIGION

    Circumscribing the seal of the confessional

    • Frank Brennan
    • 20 August 2018
    31 Comments

    There is no way I would want to defend a seal of the confessional so widely drawn as that defined by Archbishop Anthony Fisher. However, I do think there is a case for respecting the seal of the confessional tightly defined as done by the canonist Fr Ian Waters. But to do that, the Church would need to get its act together.

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  • RELIGION

    Breaking the seal for the common good

    • Peter Johnstone
    • 18 July 2018
    46 Comments

    The arguments for exemption ignore or deny the harm to children that can arise from failure to report. They claim the law would be ineffective because few paedophiles go to confession, and might not confess if the seal did not apply. Such conjectural arguments ignore the basic principle that all harm to a child must be forestalled.

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  • RELIGION

    Seal of confession should remain inviolate

    • Bill Uren
    • 07 December 2017
    34 Comments

    I suspect the royal commission will recommend the seal of confession should no longer remain absolute. I also know that all priests of my acquaintance will rather go to jail than violate the seal. I cannot then see that such a move will be anything but unproductive. Perpetrators will be less likely to go to confession and priests will go to jail.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why the seal of the confessional will remain

    • Frank Brennan
    • 20 August 2017
    23 Comments

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published a 2000-page three volume Criminal Justice Report. One of its recommendations is that the states and territories 'create a criminal offence of failure to report targeted at child sexual abuse in an institutional context'.

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  • RELIGION

    Why the seal of the confessional should remain in tact

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 December 2016
    18 Comments

    One distinctively Catholic practice is personal confession in which an individual confesses to God their sins and seeks forgiveness in the presence of and at the hands of a priest. Some groups and individuals are proposing to the royal commission that the seal of the confessional no longer be inviolable. I was quoted in The Australian saying, 'If a law is introduced to say that a priest should reveal a confession, I'm one of those priests who will disobey the law.' Being also a lawyer, let me explain.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The legal fiction that sealed Baby Ferouz's fate

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 21 October 2014
    8 Comments

    Successive Australian Governments have created fictions that aim to exclude asylum seekers. The latest example is the case of Baby Ferouz, whose protection visa application was refused in the Federal Circuit Court last week. Normally, a child born in Australia is considered to have the same visa as their parents. But Ferouz’s parents had no visa, so lawyers in Brisbane arranged for her to apply for a protection visa.

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  • RELIGION

    On breaking the seal of confession

    • Geoffrey Robinson
    • 23 November 2012
    34 Comments

    In 52 years as a priest I have never had to face a conflict situation over the seal of the confessional and sexual abuse. I pray that I never face a situation where I was convinced an innocent minor would be abused unless I broke the seal. I would find it impossibly difficult to live with that abuse on my conscience. 

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Sex abuse action and the seal of confession

    • Michael Mullins
    • 25 July 2011
    29 Comments

    Senator Nick Xenophon's call to protect children by ending the seal of confession was an affront to freedom of religion. But he speaks for many Australians, whose goodwill is necessary to preserve such religious practices.

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  • RELIGION

    Child safety reforms still progressing slowly

    • John Warhurst
    • 14 October 2019
    8 Comments

    The royal commission concluded that child safety, in all its organisational ramifications, raised questions of culture and governance for the church. If the Plenary Council 2020 doesn't take such issues seriously then it will be one indicator that the momentum around last year's official national apology has slowed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    In praise of Aboriginal trailblazers

    • Michele Madigan
    • 01 October 2019
    9 Comments

    Narungga Elder Tauto Sansbury died 23 September after a lifetime of campaigning to make the criminal justice system just for Aboriginal people, among other matters. He and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trailblazers set a benchmark to which we can all aspire in the pursuit of positive change.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The quiet assimilators

    • Denise O'Hagan
    • 16 September 2019
    4 Comments

    Take almost any street, in any modern city, and we are there. We are the substrata of society, ever-present, the unseen lining, the padding in the crowd. We carry our backgrounds closer than our wallets, effortlessly. Yet they inform our every step.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The view from Svalbard of PM's climate neglect

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 27 June 2019
    4 Comments

    This might be the Mediterranean were it not for the snow-lacquered mountains abutting the fjord we're sailing through. But no, it's the Arctic in summer — or, more precisely, the Arctic in the summer of 2019, when the climate emergency is at its zenith and the region is expected to record the lowest sea ice on record.

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