Confessionals, left, line the wall of a church. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Why making clergy mandatory reporters won't solve the Catholic abuse crisis

(RNS) — The desire to protect children from abuse, both sexual and physical, has led many states to designate certain classes of people as mandatory reporters, even threatening them with jail time if they fail to report abuse.

These laws vary from state to state in terms of who are listed as mandatory reporters and what they are required to report. Mandatory reporters have included teachers, nurses, doctors, child welfare officials and police. Even psychologists and psychiatrists, who normally must respect the confidentiality of what they are told by their patients, have sometimes been covered.

Because of the failure of Catholic bishops in the past to report abusive priests to authorities, states are now also including Catholic clergy as mandatory reporters.

Most bishops do not oppose making Catholic clergymen mandatory reporters except when it comes to what a priest hears in the sacrament of confession. For centuries, church law has forbidden priests to break the seal of confession, to reveal what they hear in confession. Breaking the seal is considered a grave sin, which cannot be forgiven by an ordinary priest or bishop but is reserved to a Vatican tribunal known as the Apostolic Penitentiary. 

This confidentiality of confession was respected by Western nations for centuries, considering it on a par with client-attorney confidentiality. Note that no state is proposing that lawyers be mandatory reporters of what they learn about sexual abuse from their clients.

The confidentiality of confession was central to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1953 film “I Confess,” where the priest is accused of murder and cannot use the information he received in confession to defend himself. More recently, the 2014 Irish film “Calvary” features a penitent who tells the priest that he is going to kill him. Central to both films is the Catholic teaching that a priest must die rather than reveal what he hears in confession.

A priest hears a woman’s confession. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

If states do not exempt confession under the mandatory reporting rules, priests will have to go to jail rather than divulge what they heard in confession.

Covering confession under mandatory reporting rules would have little effect even if priests did report. Few would confess such a sin if they thought their confidences were not secure. Many pedophiles, anyway, are so delusional that they do not think what they are doing is wrong, and therefore do not confess.

Finally, it's not often that a priest can identify who is confessing to him. A penitent could find a priest who does not know him and confess in a confessional box where there is an opaque screen between him and the priest, which would ensure anonymity.

Many non-Catholics think of confession as a get-out-of-jail-free card: Do whatever you want; confess it; and do it again. This projects visions of drug lords confessing on a regular basis while continuing to run their criminal enterprises.

In fact, for forgiveness, Catholic confession requires “firm purpose of amendment,” a sincere effort not to sin again. For the sex abuser this means no forgiveness if he does not stop. If it is a compulsive behavior, he must do everything to stop, even if that means turning himself in to authorities.

More difficult is the case of a victim telling a confessor of abuse. The victim is obviously not a sinner, but the seal of confession still covers whatever is said. Here the priest must encourage the child to tell a parent, teacher, counselor, police officer, or even to repeat the story to the priest outside of confession. This ensures that something is done to protect the child.

The seal of confession is comprehensive. A priest cannot divulge who was or was not in the confessional, what was said or what was not said. Thus, if a priest was put on the stand, he could not testify that the accused had never mentioned abuse in confession; he could not even deny he ever heard the accused's confession. Basically, he can say nothing. He is of no use to the prosecution or the defense.

(For the complicated issue of whether a penitent can release his confessor from the seal, see "Seal of confession on the court docket.")

Exempting what a priest hears in confession does not have to extend to what a priest learns in a counseling session or while doing spiritual direction. Here a priest could be covered by the same rules as cover psychologists and psychiatrists.

As a priest, I have been advised to tell counselees: “I want you to know that most of what you say to me is strictly confidential. I would only break this confidentiality when or if you might hurt yourself, others, or tell me about the abuse of a minor or vulnerable person. OK?”

Because laws vary from state to state, we need to have a national conversation over disclosure laws with input from victims, legal scholars and those covered.

For example, are rumors included or just credible accusations?

And while everyone would agree that the abuse of a child should be reported, what if the information comes from an adult survivor who does not want the crime reported?

Some survivors are not ready to report when they first seek professional help for their trauma. After some counseling, they might be ready to report. Would they be scared off from getting help because of mandatory reporting rules?

For example, an adult survivor might seek therapy, but not want his parents, spouse or children to know that he was abused. If his parents invited the priest into their home, they would be devastated to learn that the priest had abused their child. The survivor might not want to inflict that pain on his parents.

It would be tragic if he was discouraged from getting help because the priest, psychologist or psychiatrist was required to report. Here it might make a difference if the statute of limitations had expired or the priest was dead, in jail or out of ministry.

Priests, like psychologists and psychiatrists, should be covered by mandatory reporting rules with an exemption for confession, but there needs to be a serious discussion of exactly what should be covered. In these discussions the victims should have a prominent role.

(The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

Comments

  1. I was molested in the church at ages 5, 12, and 14 by three different clergy. I spoke about it in the only place I felt safe–to another priest. Now I’m 40 and I am finally bringing my case to the Portland Police. They told me the following: its past the statue of limitations, there is no corroborative witness, and the priest I told in confession doesn’t have to say/do anything (and he chooses not to). This was a long article that said one thing: “PROTECT THE INSTITUTION AT ALL COST!!”
    I worked as a pediatric nurse for 12 years from 2002 to 2014 before I was unable to work any more because of my mental health. We were all mandatory reporters and a few times a year we did report case because our patients trusted us. Its as simple as that. This article is full of out dated and simply wrong miss conceptions about what a mandatory reporter even does or how the system works.
    The damage cause by abuse is the violation of trust. When i break down and am unable to work and want to take my life the thing that always comes out is “why did no one do anything”
    Remember the words of our lord: “its better that a millstone be placed around your head and you are tossed into the sea then to cause one of my little ones to sin”
    Thomas remember the heavy millstone, and remember the little ones, think of us, and actually LOOK at what it is like to be a child abused by a priest or bishop.

  2. “Ok Father, I have confessed my sins, now confess yours!! ” And now you know why the Sacrament of Reconciliation is no longer practiced by most Catholics.

  3. Its a good point to compare confession to client/attorney privilege. If we really wanted to convict pedophiles, we would make their lawyers mandatory reporters. But it comes with a cost.

  4. The Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession is historically nil and should be deleted from Catholic teachings/dogma

    to wit:

    Matt 16: 19

    See:http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb073.html (passage is not authentic)

    Matt 18: 18

    Said passage is not authentic. e.g. see Professor Gerd Ludemann’s review in his book,
    Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 205-206

    John 20: 23

    From many studies by contemporary NT scholars, John’s gospel has been shown to be historically nil.

    e.g. From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

    “Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John’s Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source……

  5. Why don’t we test the policy out first. It can’t be any worse than the status quo.

  6. Priest/Pennant privilege only extends to what is said in the confessional booth. Not what is observed or hearing the complaints of victims.

  7. Because it steps all over the First Amendment.

    We don’t do “test runs” of blatantly unconstitutional laws.

  8. As with violating the seal of confess, making attorneys mandatory reporters runs into the Bill of Rights, which guarantees citizens a right to defend themselves.

  9. My case is not HARD — its common. And its less common when people follow the law. Its shocking that you think this is a bad law–SHOCKING!!

  10. The seal of confession is one more medieval superstition that needs to be dumped. It is nothing more than a tool for the clerical control freaks to control the laity.

  11. Exactly. Its even narrower than client/attorney privilege.

  12. I am sorry to hear of your experience and your subsequent pain and loss. I hope you can find the strength and support to carry on with your life and honorable profession.

  13. It is not common.

    98% or so of clergy have abused no one.

    The odds against being abused are quite high, and the odds of being abused thrice by three separate offenders near astronomical.

    Something about what you have related has an odd ring.

    Where were you parents (or guardians) at ages 5, 12, and 14?

    If you were abused by a priest, why did you go to another, and another, and another?

  14. You’re thinking of scientology. The very idea that priests cannot use what is said in confession means it has never been used as a form of control. At worst, its a form of psychological help that involves the trust given to a counselor. Not some kind of mind control.

  15. It’s one more of those safeguards like attorney-client privilege that protects the rights of citizens.

    Or do you believe that the attorney-client privilege exists to allow legal control freaks to control their clients?

  16. The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 and the horrific loss of all 150 souls on board raises questions about whether confidentiality in general has been properly balanced with concerns for public safety.

  17. Jason, ignore that poster. He feels it’s his duty to defend to helpless RCC and does so mostly with ad hominem attacks.

  18. What do I mean by common–think about this, for every clergy abuse case that goes through the courts (meaning it had enough evidence to get through the courts) there are 5-10 cases that were ignored because of a lack of “corroborative evidence”

    It seems like you need to know more of my story in order to listen to me. This takes incredible effort by an abuse survivor and I would ask you to consider what you are asking when you require details. I have to spend lots of time telling these details to police, family, friends, the church. These are the most disgusting and embarrassing and humiliating things that happened to me.

    So lets turn this around. What is your association with the church? Who are you? Please tell me the intimenat details and most aweful and embaristing things that happen to you.

    I have to take a break but I will try to respoind

  19. No confession = no salvation, if the Church is to be believed. It is all about control. The fact that so few of the laity actually use the confessional anymore is just one of the symptoms of the Church’s institutional collapse.

  20. The Catholic Church is a criminal institution that has been obstructing justice to protect itself for years. The abuse and rape of children and it’s crimes against humanity will continue as long as their followers continue to attend and donate money. I wish the members would have the moral strength and integrity to leave this institution and stand up for what is right, but they are brainwashed from childhood with fear and guilt, so I don’t see it ever happening. My heart goes out to my friends that have suffered and the many others all over the world that have been affected so tragically by the Catholic Church.

  21. Unfortunately, after the landmark Supreme Court decision Employment Division v. Smith, authored by the late Justice Scalia, the government is permitted to pass laws that burden religious exercise if the law is “neutral” and “generally applicable.” Previously the government could not deny religious exemptions without demonstrating a compelling state interest and showing that it has pursued that interest in the manner least restrictive burdensome to religion.

  22. Yes.

    Now all you have to find is another situation besides either a Catholic or an Orthodox priest involving confession and the seal thereof to demonstrate it is “generally applicable”.

    It is isn’t. It would be precisely the sort of law aimed directly at a denomination that is neither neutral nor generally applicable.

    It would be a direct intrusion into a religion’s fundamental beliefs.

  23. The cases “that were ignored because of a lack of ‘corroborative evidence’” are not restricted to abuse.

    We generally do not find people guilty of crimes without evidence.

    “It seems like you need to know more of my story in order to listen to me.”

    Not particularly.

    As soon as you wrote “I was unable to work any more because of my mental health” flags went up.

    I have never participated in any conversation on the topic where one or more individuals have not popped up alleging to be survivors of abuse.

    Unless the case went to trial and you foolishly identified yourself on-line, no one can verify your veracity.

    Let’s turn this around.

    Whether or not you are a survivor of abuse has zero impact on the discussion.

    The only possible relevance of your experience would be if you were making an emotional appeal, and an emotional appeal is precisely what is NOT needed to make good laws.

    In fact, were I to conclude that were what you were about, I’d block you

    https://help.disqus.com/commenting/user-blocking

    since the appropriate forum for “the intimenat details and most aweful and embaristing things” is in a professional setting with a trained expert, not on-line in a general discussion.

  24. Thank you for revealing what kind of a christian you are Mark

  25. Thank you for revealing why you are no longer able to work.

  26. That does not involve representing a client, it involves knowledge of an intent to commit a crime.

    In other words, it has nothing at all to do with the client/attorney privilege which involves defending the client.

  27. Pennant – noun

    A tapering flag on a ship, especially one flown at the masthead of a vessel in commission.

  28. “No confession = no salvation, if the Church is to be believed.”

    The Church does not teach that confession is REQUIRED for salvation.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 1452:

    “When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else,
    contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition
    remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it
    includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession
    as soon as possible.”

    There’s more.

    You didn’t get “No confession = no salvation, if the Church is to be believed.” from a Jack Chick comic book, did you?

  29. Now for some reality: (as noted below)

    The Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession is historically nil and should be deleted from Catholic teachings/dogma

    to wit:

    Matt 16: 19

    See:http://www.faithfutures.org… (passage is not authentic)

    Matt 18: 18

    Said passage is not authentic. e.g. see Professor Gerd Ludemann’s review in his book,
    Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 205-206

    John 20: 23

    From many studies by contemporary NT scholars, John’s gospel has been shown to be historically nil.

    e.g. From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

    “Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John’s Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source……

  30. The same can be said for most if not all religions and many non-religious groups like the Boy Scouts.

  31. 1 – I would not use your email address as an identification. I immediately identified your denomination and your location.

    I would edit your profile IMMEDIATELY.

    2 – Were it a criminal institution, there would indictments for conspiracy.

    There are none.

    Your distaste for another denomination doesn’t constitute grounds for indictment.

  32. “Priests, like psychologists and psychiatrists, should be covered by mandatory reporting rules with an exemption for confession, but there needs to be a serious discussion of exactly what should be covered. In these discussions the victims should have a prominent role.”

    I am not sure if Reese is making room for some disclosure of what is said in confession or not. Maybe still always protecting the confessor when it is the abuser who confesses but questioning protecting the confessor when it is the victim who confesses? How ironic – the perpetrator of what is both a sin and a crime is protected but we will discuss just how much protection to give the victim!

    I think what Reese says about respecting victims wishes is important. One issue is how to help the victim – and we may do great damage by forcing disclosure when it is the victim seeking to have it all kept quiet. One problem is that a disclosure of priest sex abuse in confession also prevents the priest hearing the confession from getting that help from the Church itself, since even getting help and support could undermine the victims wish for privacy. How are lines drawn between protecting and helping the victim but also stopping an abuser from abusing again?

    While the discussion of secrecy of confession is important, equally or more important is whatever it is that made bishops keep quiet even when they learned of child abuse by priests from outside of confession. This was far more common so the issue of protecting confession is not really the main problem in the depth and breadth of the coverup. The big question is why, world-wide, did bishops hide sex abuse by priests. It was, in part, the effect of clericalism, of the sense that priests and those ordained are more important, the “brotherhood” of all those ordained. Or maybe just that lay people, usually children, were not as important. It was also an issue of the pontifical secret under Crimen Sollicitationis, later Secreta Continere, and finally under the Motu Proprio “Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela” which requires that the pontifical secret be applied as soon as a bishop opens an investigation into such a charge and covers all documentation produced during the investigation. while the Motu Proprio requires a bishop to report child sexual abuse to local authorities where required by local law, it really says nothing about allowing such reporting where no law compels it. Hence, no bishop in Italy reports cases of child sex abuse they may learn about to local Italian police – they don’t have to so they don’t, at all.

    Just food for thought.

  33. The real problem with respect to the seal of the confessional and the “priestly pedophilia” scandal, can be seen in this scenario: Someone reports an abusive priest to a diocese. The bishop — or one of the priests or auxiliary bishops who work for him — questions the reported abuser. The abuser might confess, or else say something that gives away his guilt. Once that happens, both parties to the conversation immediately decide this was said in “the confessional,” and declare it secret. 

    At that point, the door is slammed shut on the case, and as far as the Church is concerned, there was no abuse, because no one in that diocese can report it to anyone or admit the abuse happened, since that would violate the seal of “the confessional.” Yes, even if that seal was, itself, specious or even fraudulent, because this questioning of an accused abuser was never a sincere “confession” rite. 

    The OP, or anyone else, can drone on for days about the sanctity of the confessional seal and how important it is and how it’s been legally upheld for centuries and yada yada yada. But it can be — and has been — used as cover for priests’ abuses. That makes it very non-sacred, in those cases. It’d be nice if the OP, or anyone else in the Church, acknowledges this … but they don’t, because it doesn’t neatly bolster their narrative. 

  34. Re: “While the discussion of secrecy of confession is important, equally or more important is whatever it is that made bishops keep quiet even when they learned of child abuse by priests from outside of confession.” 

    There’s really nothing preventing two priests who converse from deciding the contents of their conversation — whatever that might be — were said “in the confessional” and thus fall under seal. This is a major problem, and a failing of the system that abusers, and those who would like to protect them, take advantage of. 

  35. Royal Crown Cola is officially abbreviated “RC”, not “RCC”.

    You do realize (actually I doubt it) that the post to which I am responding was an ad hominem attack?

  36. The Anglican Communion would be a third situation, plus a number of other faith traditions practice or have historically practiced some form of confession where confidentiality is expected. It wouldn’t be hard for a legislature to come up with a wording that covered them all, plus health care workers, etc. Employment Division v. Smith involved the use of peyote, something much rarer than confession amongst different faiths. The Native American Church using peyote in religious services doubtless felt targeted. Reynolds v. United States and associated laws and cases were directly aimed at a denomination, and they were widely perceived to be so by the public. I wish the 1st Amendment free exercise clause were stronger, but Employment Division v. Smith substantially weakened it.

  37. “The Anglican Communion would be a third situation, plus a number of other faith traditions practice or have historically practiced some form of confession where confidentiality is expected.”

    Confession itself is not universal across the Anglican Communion. The “seal of confession” is not part of Anglican Canon Law as a result.

    The same is true of “traditions” where some form of confession is “expected”.

    Neither is in the same position as the Orthodox and Catholics, where the seal is both de fide part of their teaching on the sacrament and part of their respective Canons.

    “It wouldn’t be hard for a legislature to come up with a wording that covered them all, plus health care workers, etc.”

    Really?

    Give it your best shot. I’m interested.

    Of course since confession is anonymous, there would be nothing to report.

    I’d also spend a few minutes and familiarize yourself with 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb through 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-4:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Freedom_Restoration_Act

  38. Listen here buster, I nor anyone else is going to tolerate you or anyone else mistreating abuse survivors with your smarmy remarks! You can either apologize and remove your posts or they will be flagged. I would also suggest that if you cannot handle when an abuse survivor opens up to the abuse and its aftermath, which by the way takes incredible courage, that you just keep your lame cruel comments to yourself.

  39. My apologies for the rancid comments coming from MC. Please know that everyone supports you and the courage it takes for you to tell us what happened to you. I am so sorry for the pain and suffering you have endured and continue to fight against, it was never your fault. I hope and pray that you will find relief from your sufferings and know that you are loved just as you are. Without your courage and the courage of all survivors we would never have known the extent of this evil committed. I thank you for that courage. May you find the peace and love that you most certainly are entitled to and deserve.

  40. Well, in a perfect world I would agree with the sanctity of the confessional. However, in this day and age considering that the confessional could be considered ground zero for the abuse crisis maybe it should be adjudicated. There are many instances in which children were being groomed in the confessional. Where “father” would ask leading questions regarding sex to the young. I did not see Reese bring up that known fact. Instead we got the old song and dance of how it should remain as is regardless. In fact I will go as far as saying the mere fact that this is even plausible is because of the clergy abusing the sacrament for illicit purposes. Is that to mean everyone was a part, no, but because it was another venue for pervs to gain access to vulnerable children (and adults) they have put this sacrament into jeopardy. If it takes suspending this “seal of the confessional” until the RCC can remove all abusers, enablers, and those who cannot live their vows perhaps it can revert back to the sanctity it once held. Frankly, anything that gives any priest power over another’s welfare should be eliminated. Don’t blame anyone else for this state of affairs, they must look at themselves for destroying a sacrament.

  41. “I am not sure if Reese is making room for some disclosure of what is said in confession or not.”

    Not.

    “Maybe still always protecting the confessor when it is the abuser who confesses but questioning protecting the confessor when it is the victim who confesses?”

    Could you diagram that sentence?

    “While the discussion of secrecy of confession is important, equally or more important is whatever it is that made bishops keep quiet even when they learned of child abuse by priests from outside of confession.”

    The bishops who failed to follow Canon Law and deal appropriately with abusers fall into three readily identifiable groups:

    – The Homosexual Clique composed of bishops like Theodore McCarrick, Rembert Weakland, and others. They were never supposed to have been ordained, they influenced seminaries to look the other way, and they were subject to blackmail. They were a Fifth Column in the Church and did huge damage;

    – The Bureaucrats, made up of bishops like Donald Wuerl. They were all about self-aggrandization and power, and were “play the game” types whose primary goal was to get ahead and build loyal lieutenants. Playing ball with the Homosexual Clique was just one more path to advancement and keeping abusers under wraps kept the checks coming in.

    – The Seven Times Seventy Crowd, people like Bernard Francis Law, who failed to understand why Canon Law specified that abusers should be defrocked, dismissed, and reported. They were particular suckers for the mind mavens who claimed to be able to “cure” pedophiles, which played into the Homosexual Clique’s hands perfectly.

    “The big question is why, world-wide, did bishops hide sex abuse by priests.”

    Some did, some did not. Some dioceses had little or no trouble and routinely defrocked abusers.

    I have asked for documentation for “while the Motu Proprio requires a bishop to report child sexual abuse to local authorities where required by local law, it really says nothing about allowing such reporting where no law compels it” before and am still waiting.

  42. Listen here buster, you and I don’t even know if he is an actual survivor.

    If he is, someone should point to him that the cure is professional help, not the comments section at Disqus.

    Flag’em, sport.

  43. “There’s really nothing preventing two priests who converse from deciding
    the contents of their conversation — whatever that might be — were said ‘in the confessional’ and thus fall under seal.”

    Except, of course, that what you’ve described is NOT confession.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11618c.htm

    Better luck next time.

  44. Rev. Reese is correctly noted that laws on this subject vary from state to state.

    One would think from your comments that laws abrogating the clergy-penitent privilege in the case of mandatory reporting of child abuse are not already on the books. But they are. None have have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

    See http://www.gspalaw.com/the-clergy-penitent-privilege-an-overview/

    “The majority of jurisdictions expressly maintain the [clergy-penitent] privilege or maintain the privilege conditionally upon meeting certain factors, such as the clergy member being bound to maintain the confidentiality under the tenets of his or her religion. Only six jurisdictions have expressly abrogated the privilege [!] with regard to mandatory reporting laws.”

    From a footnote in the article, these six jurisdictions are New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. So you can look up the statutes in those six states if you are interested in how they worded their laws. None have been struck down by their respective state supreme courts or by a federal court. This is a live issue at the state level, and Rev. Reese doubtless knows this.

    The referenced article discusses in a dispassionate manner the pros and cons of the issue.

    The RFRA, which you referenced, does not apply to the states. Twenty-one states have state RFRA’s.

  45. “Rev. Reese is correctly noted that laws on this subject vary from state to state.”

    None purport to suspend or pierce the seal of confession and

    http://www.gspalaw.com/the-clergy-penitent-privilege-an-overview/

    discusses something broader, the “clergy penitent privilege”, “communication to the clergy member, made privately and not intended for further disclosure, in his or her capacity as spiritual adviser”.

    The author mentions the ONLY case on point that I am aware of, Mayeaux v. Charlet, but then misrepresents it by writing:

    “Ostensibly, it appears the Louisiana Supreme Court has held that, despite the exception made in the mandatory reporting statute for confidential communications where the clergy member has a duty to keep the communication confidential, a member of clergy has a duty to report if he or she ‘has cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse.’“

    This correctly summarizes the case:

    https://www.adamsandreese.com/files/Uploads/Documents/Aroud%20the%20Bar%20G%20Guillot.pdf

    In short, NO jurisdiction purports to compel violation of the seal of confession.

  46. Louisiana is not one of the six states that expressly abrogated the privilege client penitent privilege with regard to mandatory reporting laws, so is not relevant to the statutes in those six states.

    If the state specifically abrogates the clergy penitent privilege it is hard to see how it protects it or recognizes it.

  47. You don’t think that Catholic priests go to Confession? They are sinners like the rest of us … that should be patently obvious by now.

  48. Then there is Texas:

    “The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Gonzales v. State upheld yet another statutory exemption to the clergy privilege. Article 261.202 of the Texas Family Code provides that evidence of child abuse or neglect may not be excluded because of any [!] privilege, except for the attorney-client privilege.”

    https://www.johntfloyd.com/the-clergy-privilege/

    https://law.onecle.com/texas/family/261.202.html

    How as a practical matter one would compel testimony when the priest refuses to testify is another matter, but the Texas court has clearly excluded as a defense any privilege except attorney-client privilege in child abuse cases. In other words, Texas law just doesn’t recognize the seal in cases of child abuse. It would be up to a judge in a specific case to compel testimony if he deemed it necessary and relevant.

    This practical matter means that the law serves mainly to educate and to assert publicly the gravity the state attaches to the crime of child abuse.

  49. Actually if you read the John Jay report issued in 2002, there are very few instances of victims being groomed by priests in the confessional. Most of the “grooming” done by abusers was done in the context of camping trips, retreats, altar servers and other young people visiting with the priest in homes, in the sacristy, etc. The time spent in the confessional is extremely short — minutes — and typically, parents and other adults are waiting in line just outside the confessional. I”m not saying it doesn’t happen — it does, tragically — but in the vast majority of cases, not in the context of a confessional.

  50. Frankly, let’s get rid of cars too since the drunk driver misuses them.
    In your mission to uproot the unholy priests in the church, you intend to burn the whole thing down. I’m not sure if you were abused; or just pissed off; but to upend the tradition and theology of the confessional specifically and the sacrament in general is beyond short-sighted.

  51. Jason, please don’t waste time or energy to respond. Mark Connelly, or whoever he is, is not going to listen. He has his point of view and will just continue pounding away. Please don’t let him grind you down.

  52. The make believe power to absolve sins is very powerful. Every report of abuse by priests includes abuse of that power.

    The church did not defrock, or even scold, priests who sexully assaulted children during confession.

    By its own actions, the catholic church has declared there is nothing “sanctified” about the confessional.

    The catholic church deserves no exception to mandatory reporting rules. If this means fewer conversations between dirty old men and innocent children, so much the better.

  53. Law enforcement is currently, finally, opening investigationsof the church.

  54. Grow up. In prior centuries, the church used what was heard in the confessional for black mail. Priests still use the confessional to identify and groom children for sexual assault.

    The “sanctity of the confessional” is a one way street used by the church to control the laity.

    Priests are not excommunicated for using the confessional to identify, groom and silence victims.

    Priests are not excommunicated for sexually assaulting children during confession.

    The church deserves no deference when it lies about its oh so sacred confessional. Not only should priests be required reporters, secret conversations between priests and children should be illegal.

  55. Magic moving goalposts.

    Compare that to what children abused by priests were taught.

    Victims of priests believed they were required to obey priests. Victims of priests believed priests controlled who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. Victims of priests were told their abuse counted as ‘confession” so they could tell no one.

    Priests systematically used confession and the confessional and priestly power to “absolve sin” to control victims of child rape. And the church DID NOTHING to prevent this or punish this or decrease this power or mitigate the harm. Nothing.

    And they want us to believe the confessional is sacred? Stepping in dog shit is more sacred than the catholic confessional.

  56. Churches do not have a constitutional right to silence their rape victims.

  57. Only if they don’t purport to void religious beliefs and practices.

  58. No one suggested otherwise.

    Things are slow over at JoeMyGod?

  59. My comment was only on the error in alwayspuzzled’s statement on the Catholic beliefs related to their sacrament of Confession.

    Your personal animosity towards the Catholic Church due to its opposition to same sex marriage and so on is a matter of record.

  60. There is no state which expressly abrogated the seal of confession.

  61. Read the PA report. Priests traded info on which children had been groomed for abuse. They even gave out crosses to help other priests identify easy victims.

    Also, take a math class. Even if “only” 2% of priests rape children (studies show it is higher than this), they each rape multiple children. Thus far more than 2% of catholic children have been sexually assaulted by priests.

  62. Super, which issue?:

    I disagree with this user

    Targeted harassment — posted or encouraged others to post harassing comments or hate speech targeting me, other individuals, or groups

    Spam — posted spam comments or discussions

    Inappropriate profile — profile contains inappropriate images or text

    Threatening content — posted directly threatening content

    Impersonation — misrepresents themselves as someone else

    Private information — posted someone else’s personally identifiable information

  63. Non sequitur.

    The catholic church chose to protect priests.

    The catholic church chose to do nothing when priests used the confessional to identify children for sexual assault, groom children for sexual assault, and silence victims of sexual assault.

    The catholic church chose to do nothing when priests sexually assaulted children during confession.

    By its own action / inaction, the catholic church has declared there is nothing sacred about the confessional.

  64. The PA report is a carefully crafted product of selective investigation and reporting.

    It is so one-sided that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the names of several priests who were still living stricken because they were given no chance to defend themselves.

    If the numbers are to be believed, the conclusion would be that abuse is no longer as prevalent today, and that it never reached the level that it reached in the nation’s public schools which are estimated to be in the range of 5-10%.

  65. I oppose any organization that facilitates child rape.

    That you defend it speaks volumes.

  66. The Church never taught or condoned the use of the confessional for any other purpose except to shrive.

    Your hatred of the Catholic Church is a matter of record.

    Yes, priests are excommunicated and removed from the ministry if they use the confessional for the purposes you suggest.

  67. You apparently oppose the public schools.

    Where your problem arises is that the organization in this case does not facilitate child rape.

    It is members of the organization, particularly the Homosexual Clique formerly led by the likes of Rembert Weakland and Theodore McCarrick, that facilitated activities specifically prohibited by both divine and church law.

    That particular problem is getting sorted out now.

  68. And, of course, 80+% was male-on-male which points to one of the major sources of problems in the ministry.

  69. There is no evidence that the Catholic Church “chose to protect priests”.

    Some members of the Catholic Church did choose to NOT follow Canon Law and give them the boot and report them.

  70. Negating religious practices by law – with some very carefully noted exceptions – violates the First Amendment.

  71. Read reports of the Boston abuse scandal. Read the PA report. Listen to hundreds of victims throughout the country and around the globe.

    Priests used the confessional to rape children. And the church said “Tsk Tsk.’ and sent the priest AS A PRIEST to a different parish.

    No priest was excommunicated for using the confessional to rape children.

  72. That’s generally my advice for your posts as well.

  73. There currently is no such thing as Anglican Canon Law. Each regional or national Anglican Church has its own canons. The Primates and the ACC have been working on a set of model Canon Laws for years, but not much has come of that.

  74. Folks, Alexandra has a point of view and will continue “pounding away”.

    Just like every other commenter.

  75. There are dioceses which had zero lawsuits, and there are dioceses with other experiences.

    The dioceses with zero lawsuits followed Canon Law, which prohibits the ordination of individuals with certain abnormalities, including a homosexual orientation, and requires that abusers be removed permanently and reported to the authorities if a crime was committed.

    That “No priest was excommunicated for using the confessional to rape children.” is total hogwash.

    The problems arose in dioceses with bishops in one of three camps:

    – The Homosexual Clique composed of bishops like Theodore McCarrick, Rembert Weakland, and others. They were never supposed to have been ordained, they influenced seminaries to look the other way, and they were subject to blackmail. They were a Fifth Column in the Church and did huge damage;

    – The Bureaucrats, made up of bishops like Donald Wuerl. They were all about self-aggrandization and power, and were “play the game” types whose primary goal was to get ahead and build loyal lieutenants. Playing ball with the Homosexual Clique was just one more path to advancement and keeping abusers under wraps kept the checks coming in.

    – The Seven Times Seventy Crowd, people like Bernard Francis Law, who failed to understand why Canon Law specified that abusers should be defrocked, dismissed, and reported. They were particular suckers for the mind mavens who claimed to be able to “cure” pedophiles, which played into the Homosexual Clique’s hands perfectly.

    The Church has never claimed that its members are without sin. Jesus selected Twelve, and One was overtaken with Satan.

  76. The woman told investigators that the abuse began with Luna “kissing her passionately” during confession when she was 8, according to the complaint.

    “The victim recalled the defendant (Luna) telling her ‘remember this is confession, so whatever happens here stays in here,’ ” the complaint states.

    The Catholic rite of confession is considered private between the priest and the penitent.

    Luna allegedly continued molesting the girl as she grew older and allegedly began raping her starting when she was 12 years old, the complaint states.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.elpasotimes.com/amp/716266002

    The catholic church is thinking about defrocking Luna. There is no indication that he might be excommunicated.

    Reporting child abuse learned about during confession = excommunication.

    Raping a child during confession =/= excommunication.

    Dog shit is more sacred than the catholic confessional.

  77. Some is not all.
    There are still many good and holy priests who serve the faithful.
    There are many good and holy priests who despise the unholy priests and hierarchy for what they have done to the church.
    There are many good and holy priests who will continue to administer the sacraments to the faithful.

  78. Anglican Canon Law, as I used it, referred to:

    – the immediate revision of the Canon Law of the Church of England after the parting with the Catholic Church;

    – the constituent churches’ Canon Laws taken as a whole.

    See Principle 77, items 6 and 7 in the following:

    http://www.acclawnet.co.uk/docs/principles.pdf

    A honorific “seal of confession” is posited, but it is not inviolable as are the Orthodox and Catholic conceptions.

  79. Children’s lives are far more important than the confessional seal.

  80. Capuchin priest Jack Niland allegedly raped and sexually abused an Agat altar boy during confessions around 1979, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday.

    The lawsuit says Archbishop Anthony Apuron, other priests and the Capuchin Order were aware of Niland’s sexual abuses but deliberately remained quiet.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.guampdn.com/amp/816212001

    Reporting child abuse learned about during confession = excommunication.

    Raping a child during confession =/= excommunication.

    Dog shit is more sacred than the catholic confessional.

  81. Your willingness to sacrifice children to your ideology is very sick. You are part of this problem.

  82. SYDNEY, Australia — Martina was sexually abused for the first time at age 8 by a priest in the confession booth of her Catholic elementary school. Almost daily violations followed in her working-class Sydney suburb, culminating in a rape at age 9 that she later recalled as more painful than childbirth.

    A nun who saw Martina when she was leaving the confessional with blood running down her leg told her she was disgusting.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/opinion/confession-priest-abuse-australia.amp.html

    Reporting child abuse learned about during confession = excommunication.

    Raping a child during confession =/= excommunication.

    Dog shit is more sacred than the catholic confessional.

  83. The good priests may depise “unholy priests.” But they say nothing, and the “unholy priests” have not been excommunicated.

  84. Thousands of priests have used the confessional to identify, abuse and silence victims.

    Name those who have been excommunicated for violating the confessional.

  85. And yet our society sacrifices innocent children by abortion to the mistaken ideology developed only recently that the child in the womb is not “alive.” I remember the case of a priest who heard confessions in the Philippines of the resistance during the Japanese occupation in WWII. The Japanese questioned him on these confessions. He would not break the seal. He was led away, and never seen again. The Future John Paul II’s confessional was bugged by the Communists in the hope that he could be charged with some crime. This society is not for children, it is for taking down the Catholic Church which protects children, despite the sinfulness of some members, no doubt influenced by our sick society.

  86. Depends. Domestic spying has tons of fourth amendment hoops to jump through. So yes. Foreign spying requires oversight to avoid causing diplomatic incidents. So no there.

  87. Deflection and avoidance. Children are born. You apparently have no regard for them. Making your concern for the unborn, phony and pointless. A church aiding systematic child abuse deserves the fate that befalls it.

  88. Name any public school that systematically facilitated child rape for decades and at the same time declares itself to be magically exempt from mandatory reporting.

  89. Do you have any evidence of this, or just conspiracy theories?

  90. The seal of confession doesn’t cover future crimes. You cannot confess to something you are going to do.

  91. I can’t even name a church that “systematically facilitated child rape” once, let alone for decades.

  92. That “Thousands of priests have used the confessional to identify, abuse and silence victims.” is more of your imaginary hogwash.

    Joseph H. Kean, Joseph A. Rock, Thomas J. Bender all of whom are in the Allentown diocese and all of whom are named in the PA Attorney General Report.

    Since excommunications are NOT public records, the numerous others are nameless but real.

  93. Yes, you and Lark62 are peddling flat-out lies.

  94. A church aiding systematic child abuse would be indicated for a criminal conspiracy, probably under RICO.

    The fact that is not happening is significant.

  95. The holy priests do say something but they are silenced by the hierarchy or are called bigots by the media.
    There are holy priests that teach the catechism but are disparaged as “trads” because they don’t embrace modernism.
    They are the resistance of the church – those holy priests who wish to clense the church.
    Again, you and others like you wish to burn the church down. The faithful will not allow it. They will carry on; not because they condone the hierarchy; but not n spite of it.
    The libs that love to shout “boycott” and every stiff wind will not understand; so be it.
    The church will endure. It always does.

  96. His ideology would protect children.

    It was folks who share a significant component of your ideology, folks like Rembert Weakland and Theodore McCarrick, who acted contrary to their church’s teachings.

  97. Pray angry dog; pray.
    Pray for the church to cleanse itself of its homosexual pedophiles.

  98. A. Odysseus Patrick is the pen name of an Australian muckraker who know less, if that is possible, then you do about Catholicism.

    https://muckrack.com/a-odysseus-patrick/articles

    Her story may be real – that is she actually told it – but it is not factual.

    It is one of many tales told the Australian so-called Commission without evidence, without convictions, without a scintilla or shred of confirmation.

  99. There is a reason why this describes a lawsuit rather than a criminal trial.

    It has to do with the burden of proof.

  100. This showed up in 2002 in a few places planted by someone under the pen name “Isambard Wilkinson” and promptly died.

    I checked the Spanish newspapers 2002-4 and there was no follow up and no confirmation.

    Nor was there ever anything further by “Isambard Wilkinson”.

  101. Given the exemption extended to the confessional and the dictatorial design of government in the Roman Church with its claim that its ruler rules by divine right, mandatory reporting to civil authorities is seriously compromised. In the setting of a government agency or medical practice, there are clear protections for the those who report abuse, there is no guarantee from an institution that has no public accountability, rules by divine right and feels it is above civil law.

  102. Thank you for providing exactly the right adjective, “rancid,” to describe every comment by the commenter formerly known as Bob Arnzen. That fits the entirety of his oeuvre.

  103. Does it really seem that way to you? These issues are inextricably linked. They are both sins against children. You have here given the “standard” answer approved by society . But, you can see the two things are linked, because I have seen you are willing to think outside the box. Child abuse and abortion are both against the 5th commandment. The Church is clear on that.

  104. A good response! “There are tons of fourth amendment hoops to jump through,” and yet it is done every day. Wasn’t there lots of talk about phone monitoring awhile back?

  105. Your concern for life never seems to extend past gestation. Not even for the woman who carries a fetus. No need to pretend you have any concern for others. Its self-righteous puffery on your part. Your equating abortion to systematic child abuse and covering it up is more proof of moral vacuity.

    You are covering up and making excuses for child abuse. Your position is morally reprehensible.

  106. You are telling me here you didn’t really understand the answer.

    There are tons of hoops to go through for domestic spying. Making it difficult to obtain and bring in as evidence.

    “Wasn’t there lots of talk about phone monitoring awhile back?”

    The 1960’s when the Hoover FBI ran amok, leading to current rules on the subject.

  107. No, recently, when computers make it possible to go through tons of data — after 9/11, and continuing. Rand Paul objected to the NSA doing it.

  108. So you are basing it on conjecture and political grandstanding by the laziest man in Congress (an honor he took from his father).

  109. Good. Thank God! You don’t work for the NSA. You haven’t caught my phone calls arranging for my good works among children and their mothers. But wait, did you upvote some of my posts, only to alert the authorities? Tricky, tricky….Bwahh, ha, ha.

  110. A single modern day case in a tiny village? Do you have actual evidence of your tin foil hat conspiracy that such malpractice has ever been mainstream, or practiced on a larger level?

  111. You are doubling down on a phony narrative and deflection here.

    I would worry about your works given the obvious contempt you hold women and children.

  112. So requiring priests to break the seal of confession doesn’t make sense.

  113. The problem shown in movies like “I Confess,” is that the penitant won’t take their penance — which I believe in such serious cases is turning himself/herself in to the authoities. Therefore, they are not absolved. The point is, if they are truly repentant, they should be self-mandated reporters. Thanks Fr. Reese, for using that example.

  114. So you never upvoted any of my posts? A tree is known by it’s fruit. The only fruit you should have seen, are my posts, and my obvious fruitiness.

  115. Poor Rand. Would you go to him, if he was just a dentist?

  116. Can someone please tell me why this piece of garbage is still allowed to post?

  117. And all of this verbiage over a sacrament that has no historical foundation. This has finally hit home with most Catholics and few ever go anymore.

    To wit:

    The Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession is historically nil and should be deleted from Catholic teachings/dogma

    Matt 16: 19

    See:http://www.faithfutures.org… (passage is not authentic)

    Matt 18: 18

    Said passage is not authentic. e.g. see Professor Gerd Ludemann’s review in his book,
    Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 205-206

    John 20: 23

    From many studies by contemporary NT scholars, John’s gospel has been shown to be historically nil.

    e.g. From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

    “Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John’s Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source….

  118. There are many who argue that the problem is not that bishops did not follow Canon Law but that they did. And the reason Popes from JPII forward did not do anything to “punish” bishops is that the bishops did not break Canon Law. You could read the reports released from the Australian Royal Commission or read many articles published in Crux, National Catholic Reporter, The Tablet (U.K.), Eureka Street (Australia) or a slew of on-line news media.

    I get that you think Canon Law provided for bishops to report, dismiss priests, but there are many, many who disagree. And there is a great deal of evidence that the Vatican did not support reporting priests or defrocking them. You might look at the published problems bishops had in seeking to defrock priests that the CDF would not allow because of Canon Law. You might read about the comments in the 1990s and early 2000s of Curial Cardinals who praised bishops who refused to name sex abusing priests to secular authorities – and were not “corrected” by anyone else in the Curia at the time because those views were seen as an accurate reflection of Canon Law.

  119. Probably not. He doesn’t seem to like to work very hard at his given profession.

  120. Yes, that’s an example of the model canon laws which haven’t come to much. They are of no effect in the Anglican Communion.

    Yet, the first statement in P-77 says that it is inviolate.

  121. “There are many who argue that the problem is not that bishops did not follow Canon Law but that they did.”

    Yes, over at National Catholic Reporter, Bilgrimage, et al.

    Unfortunately for that “many”, they are completely unable to provide either the citations to Canon Law or a single documented instance.

    You cite “the Australian Royal Commission”, a show enterprise which did not allow cross-examination, require documentation, or otherwise meet even the minimum standards of due process and which was clearly nothing more than a political sideshow.

    You mention Crux, National Catholic Reporter, The Tablet (U.K.), Eureka Street (Australia)” and “ a slew of on-line news media” – thus revealing where you gather your “facts” – but fail to cite one, let alone a few, actual cases..

    As to “there are many, many who disagree”, well:

    https://news.yahoo.com/quarter-americans-convinced-sun-revolves-around-earth-survey-062143342–abc-news-topstories.html

    there are many, many who think the sun revolves around the earth.

    Were wishes horses, beggars would ride.

    “And there is a great deal of evidence that the Vatican did not support reporting priests or defrocking them.”

    Again, an opinion without one scintilla of support.

    On the other hand we can see actual cases where following Canon Law led to great outcomes.

    Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz ran an orthodox seminary, weeded out the unfit from seminary programs, and immediately dismissed any abusive priests and – if appropriate – reported him to authorities, had zero lawsuits.

    Facts trump opinions.

  122. RNS and/or Disqus apparently loves folks named “stan”.

  123. No, that was NOT an example of any model canon law.

    It was a synopsis of the commonalities of existing Anglican Canon Laws.

    Yes, the 6th and 7th sections of 77 say it IS violate.

  124. Then I stand corrected as to what that was. I just skipped to P-77 and skimmed through it. I need my coffee!

  125. Anglican Canon Law is a somewhat esoteric area of study.

    As with the Book of Common Prayer, all the constituent churches Canons began with the Church of England’s and, as with the Book of Common Prayer, they diverged to fit local needs and practices.

    On the positive side they are all fully documented in English, whereas – for an example – the Roman Canons were not codified until 1917 and were written in Latin.

  126. The Catholic abuse crisis will never be resolved. It has gone on too long with too many victims. It is in it’s final free-fall leading to great destruction. Our Dear Lord will not save this terrible abomination. Satan laughs and waits in hell with open arms.

  127. Representing his constituency. Working to improve conditions of one of the poorest states in the Union.

    Libertarians like Paul are the most useless politicians out there. They flat out declare they oppose effective action in their position.

  128. How about Royal Commissions, DA’s in the U.S., heads of government in Ireland? There is disagreement on an issue that you think is settled even among canon lawyers. It is not settled. Many, many, many think Canon Law is part of the problem in holding bishops accountable and in defrocking priests. There is also a problem in holding religious orders accountable – something that does not receive much attention.

    You are dreaming if you think you have some sort of definitive answer. There is controversy, there is disagreement. You have an opinion, not an answer.

  129. You keep positing “disagreement” but you can’t present a single citation.

    You are dreaming if you think hanging around Bilgrimage and read the National Catholic Reporter constitutes being informed.

    You are dreaming if you think that a small group of malcontents’ disagreements – and not just about this but about darned near everythings – means there is not some sort of definitive answer.

  130. Those “malcontents” include governments, judiciaries who have received input from those trained in Canon Law, and Canon Lawyers themselves. It is not as cut and dried as you want to claim. There is controversy within Catholic ranks. The issue is not settled. What you quote is one side of an on-going argument

  131. It is as cut and dried as I claim.

    There is controversy in dissident ranks, but in the Church there is simply the facts.

    As to “those trained in Canon Law, and Canon Lawyers themselves”. you’re referring to the likes of:

    http://www.themediareport.com/hot-topics/rev-thomas-p-doyle-o-p/

    and the likes of Kieran Tapsell, who is NOT a Canon lawyer and as far I can determine not even a Catholic.

    But your “sources” love both of them.

  132. I’m praying for the church to collapse under its own evil.

  133. We are talking here about children being abused by your priests. Your tired deflections won’t save them.

  134. There is so much that’s not happening — most significantly, a resolution to the church’s ongoing clergy sex abuse problem.

  135. The abuse crisis extends across the human group spectra, from priests, rabbis, evangelicals, married men, coaches the BSA and on and on. And Satan? The demon of the demented. He/she is pure myth!!!

  136. No, the “holy priests” (of which there are none) do not say anything. In my case, there were 4-5 priests who knew of my abuse and chose to say and do nothing. That included the bishop. Those men are still in the pulpit. Your excuses and lies are disgusting to normal people.

  137. I did my part — I was able to have an offender removed from the pulpit. What have you done, besides peddle excuses and lies?

  138. You’re not helping.

    The evidence seems to be that the “problem” in the USA peaked over twenty years ago and cases have dropped down to much lower than, say, the incidents in public schools.

  139. Let’s have one lie just to establish you’re dealing with a full deck.

  140. My statement is clear and to the point. Your lack of comprehension isn’t surprising.

  141. Deflections and excuses. More excuses and lies. There has been little justice achieved for those victims, not to mention all the remaining victims from the previous 20 centuries. And grand juries have uncovered many more cases than were reported.

  142. I know you are. But it won’t. It is not mans church; it is Christ’s.
    It survived Napoleon and it will survive this.
    Pray for the holy priests.

  143. Unsubstantiated nonsense:

    – deflections

    – excuses

    – lies

    You’re a pretty sad case.

  144. No, you failed to respond in a clear and understandable way.

    That is, of course, understandable.

  145. I don’t know how to break it down any more for you. You’re dishonest to the core, so I won’t even try.

  146. There are no holy priests, and you can’t blame Christ for millions of abused children. Nothing lasts forever. There are scores of dead religions, languages and cultures.

  147. I know you don’t.

    Here’s the short version:

    – You really hate the Catholic Church.

    – You therefore really hate anyone that provides facts which makes your hatred appear unreasonable, which of course it is.

    Other than that, you really have nothing to add to the conversation.

  148. Here, I’ll dumb it down for you:

    The welfare of children should always take precedence over the “confessional seal”. You don’t have to agree with that, but if you still don’t understand my assertion, then you’re the one not playing with a full deck.

  149. “98% or so of clergy have abused no one.”

    Your source for that lie?

    In Pennsylvania alone, more than 300 perpetrators were uncovered. That’s well more than 2% of the priests in those dioceses.

  150. “..pure myth?” That is exactly what he wants ALL men to believe, that he doesn’t exist. But he has you deceived. The Catholic abuse crisis is one of his most abominable, offensive achievements on earth.

  151. That makes over a dozen argumentative, pointless, silly posts directed to me today.

    The 300 were over a period of 70 years.

    I did the math for BiO (Ben in Oakland), your countryman in hatred of the Catholic Church, including the population of priests in the dioceses examined, and it worked out to be about 1.8% or thereabouts.

    So, in order not to feed the troll – which is what you are – and contribute to otherwise worthwhile discussions being clogged with your vitriol, hatred, and spite, I am blocking you until April 1.

    You join a couple of other axe-grinders for whom the last thing they need is attention.

    Seek counseling.

  152. “That ‘No priest was excommunicated for using the confessional to rape children.’ is total hogwash.” second comment back by Mark Connelly .

    “Since excommunications are NOT public records, the numerous others are nameless but real.”
    just above comment by Mark .

    mark speaks with absolute certainly about something he explains he cannot know, unless of course, he has personal knowledge of the “NOT public records” of every diocese in america .

  153. you keep giving a faithfutures.org link that does not link to anything in particular . only other links .

    your quote from bruce chilton doesn’t do justice to chilton’s thought . “John’s Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source…..” of what? give a quote or don’t but don’t truncate it . i think you will find when you stop breezing through sources that chilton does speak of what john was a source of . and biography was not it . this is not news .

    you say that “John’s gospel has been shown to be historically nil.” to think that is to miss the point . the gospel writers were not history writers . they were people spreading the word, the message, the ideas and ideals of the one they considered the messiah . history was not the goal . getting the early assembly’s teachings out to the broader world was the reason for the gospels .

  154. So you can’t provide a source, because you made it up. I already knew that.

  155. Your concern for life never seems to extend beyond advocating for abortion and promoting a non-border.

  156. Versus your contempt for everyone and particular contempt for the unborn?

  157. “Mark Connelly” is an attention-starved sociopath. He has no interest in your story, Jason.

  158. What you call “dictatorial design of government in the Roman Church” Catholic call the divinely instituted hierarchical foundation of the Church.

    What you call “rules by divine right”, it calls “ordination”.

    It share both with the Orthodox, Assyrians, Copts, and others who stems from the same early Church.

    All believe God’s law is above civil law, as did the Christian martyrs.

  159. “If it takes suspending this ‘seal of the confessional’ until the RCC
    can remove all abusers, enablers, and those who cannot live their vows
    perhaps it can revert back to the sanctity it once held.”

    Thank God for the First Amendment.

  160. You really hate children. You really hate abuse victims. You really hate the truth. You really hate yourself.

  161. Do you really think that I care whether or not you block me? You’ve actually done me a big favor.

  162. Try http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb073.html . Website servers sometimes get changed.

    Regarding the gospel writers, See Father Raymond Brown’s review of the New Testament for a summary of what is known about M, M, L and J. Not much actually.

    Regarding the physical Resurrection without which there would be no Christianity, a review from the graduate school of a large Catholic university’s theology department:

    “Heaven is a Spirit state (no physical bodies abide so where is the resurrected, ascended body????)

    Christ’s and Mary’s bodies are therefore not in Heaven. For one thing, Paul in 1 Cor 15 speaks of the body of the dead as transformed into a “spiritual body.” No one knows exactly what he meant by this term.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    The physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary’s corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke’s Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus’ mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus’ followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary’s special role as “Christ bearer” (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus’ Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would
    be derived by worms upon her death. Mary’s assumption also shows God’s positive regard, not only for Christ’s male body, but also for female
    bodies.”

    “In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him.”
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

  163. Try http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb073.html . Sometimes website servers get changed without notice.

    Might want to review Father Raymond Brown’s Introduction to the New Testament to see what is known about M, M, L, and J. Not much which adds to their being not very useful in dogma and beliefs.

  164. And I recommend Father Raymond Brown’s An Introduction for a review of what is known about M, M, L and J. Not much and not enough to base doctrine and dogma on.

  165. The link has been corrected. Try it again.

  166. The RCC has lasted two thousand and eighteen years. The church has outlived war, kings, famine, plagues and anti-popes.
    Christ himself said that Hell itself will not destroy the church.
    You see angry dog, the church will live forever because it is the bride of Christ. It is based upon the Truth; that is, Christ himself.
    Man is evil. Man will harm the church (and the faithful); but man cannot destroy what Christ himself has provided.
    For your own sake; with all that has happened to you, I pray you have a relationship with Christ.

  167. An unsupported fantasy, accompanied by a denial of history. Those with the most insecurity in their lives present such fantasies as undisputed fact, while looking with condescension at everyone they consider unwashed.

  168. The babies, or the many good priests, who are disgusted by all child abuse?

  169. A teacher at Grove City (A Christian PA college) was recently charged with filming students in the bathrooms. This sin cuts across the board, and is enabled by media.

  170. Me too. I still like Rand. The framers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution would too, for his distributist tendencies.

  171. Look, I know you have been hurt. I am not being mean here. Really I am not. Let us say a minor comes to confession and says that she is being pressured by her boyfriend to get an abortion. He has a contact in another state, and can take her there. The priest cannot tell the authorities about the boyfriend. He cannot tell the parents about the child. He can only advise the young woman to go to her parents, or he can give her information about Birthright or Genesis.

  172. The man is a welfare queen. Taking a government paycheck to do nothing of value. He even declared he won’t do the job he was elected for.

  173. This movie is very good. And no babies were harmed in the making, except that one appeared to be drooling, a bit. But that is only natural. I wish people could see how this unnatural situation, taken up by those who want money, has led to the current situation with the Church.

  174. See J.H. Newman’s “Essay on Development of Doctrine: Thus the doctrine of Penance may be called a development of the doctrine of Baptism…” Of Course it is supported by Scripture which you deny the historical significance of. However, John’s Gospel and the development of the rite will continue, when Mr. Ludemann is long forgotten on this earth. The seal of confession will undoubtedly stand. However, there may be development to secure this seal from the intrusion of those proud individuals who think they can replace the Judgement of God.

  175. He defends against government intrusion and votes to give citizens the right to use their abilities, unhindered by “the system.”

  176. No he doesn’t. He supports corporate interests and undermines the rights of those who elected him. Libertarians like him only have one stance: “Might makes right”. They attack the power of voters to use their representation to protect their interests. A welfare queen collecting a government paycheck for slothful indifference to the duties of his position.

  177. Bred, Born, Brainwashed, Guilt-tripping Christian are thee!

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy Note5, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone
    ——– Original message ——–From: Disqus Date: 1/16/19 8:36 AM (GMT-05:00) To: [email protected] Subject: Re: Comment on Why making clergy mandatory reporters won’ t solve the Catholic abuse crisis
    “See J.H. Newman’s “Essay on Development of Doctrine: Thus the doctrine of Penance may be called a development of the doctrine of Baptism…” Of Course it is supported by Scripture which you deny the historical significance of. However, John’s Gospel and the development of the rite will continue, when Mr. Ludemann is long forgotten on this earth. The seal of confession will undoubtedly continue. However, there may be development to secure this seal from the intrusion of those who think they can replace the Judgement of God.”

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    TiredCatholic

    See J.H. Newman’s “Essay on Development of Doctrine: Thus the doctrine of Penance may be called a development of the doctrine of Baptism…” Of Course it is supported by Scripture which you deny the historical significance of. However, John’s Gospel and the development of the rite will continue, when Mr. Ludemann is long forgotten on this earth. The seal of confession will undoubtedly continue. However, there may be development to secure this seal from the intrusion of those who think they can replace the Judgement of God.

    8:36 a.m., Wednesday Jan. 16

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  178. The laws regarding that vary from state to state. And in any case, that is not a sex abuse situation, unless the minor girl is not of the age of consent. If she is not of the age of consent, it should be reported to civil authorities.

  179. Then if she is, say 14, (most states say 16 and the partner cannot differ by too many years), is it or is it not a sex-abuse situation?

  180. because you are speaking only de jure rather than de facto .

  181. As there is no NT foundation for the sacrament , Newman’s essay is simply theological verbiage.

  182. The RCC needs to go the way of the dinosaur, same as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.

    Every Catholic is complicit in the rape and sexual abuse of children by their predatory priests. After all, don’t they still pay their salaries?

  183. Tell that to every one of the tens of thousands of young children and women the world over who cry for help today while your clergy rape them over and over and over again . . .

  184. You don’t accept the New Testament so your post is simply rubbish.

  185. I accept 10% of the NT which passes rigorous historic testing. The NT passages that supposedly “validate” the sacrament of reconciliation fail rigorous testing.

  186. broad brush . never have all priests been the problem . never has “every catholic been complicit” in the abuse .

    and whether or not you think “[t]he RCC need to go the way of the…” whatever it will not . hinduism and buddhism and islam will, i assume, also ignore your suggestion .

    the catholic church is and will suffer mightily for the evil of the few–and the moral blindness of too many leaders who tried to mitigate the problem rather than stomp it out .

    but the world needs a universal church bearing the message and mission of jesus so the catholic church will continue .

  187. Tell that to every one of the tens of thousands of young children and women the world over who cry for help today while your clergy rape them over and over and over again . . .

  188. “The RCC has lasted two thousand and eighteen years.”

    dating of the life of christ is imprecise to be sure, but we do have some knowledge that jesus was arrested, crucified, died some time after the year one of the christian era . 1 a.d. as we used to write it . most likely somewhere in the years 25 to 30 a.d.

    from that time with the mission that the risen christ gave to the apostles, before he left them for heaven, we have the origin of the orthodox churches, the catholic churches of the east, the r.c.c. and the descended churches of the west .

    i would urge the best understanding for jesus saying “And
    I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my
    church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [mt 16:18] was that all the churches descended from the apostles shared that charisma . not just the later church of the bishop of rome, whose successors were chosen by the people and clerics of rome for many years .

    the vatican may disappear yet christ’s assemblies would survive and again thrive and continue the mission .

  189. the multitude of those abused, large as it is, and deserving as it is to be comforted and consoled and aided as they must be, still was abused and raped by a minority of the clergy .

    repeating your statement as you do suggests that many who were innocent then and now of that evil are yet guilty . they are not .

    root out the abusers . preserve those who are good people of god .

  190. “A fish rots from the head down.”

    You don’t honestly believe the RCC’s practice of raping children and women began a week ago, do you?

  191. you give cliche . things that as often wrong as they are right .

    your second sentence makes no sense as response to anything i wrote.

    i note that your comment history is hidden . mine is not . if you write something that make sense i may respond, but my experience is those with hidden histories have a greater tendency to act the troll .

  192. or hard cases make good people work harder to get a good outcome .

  193. “estimated to be in the range of 5-10%”

    by whom ?

    “stricken because they were given no chance….”

    actually they were invited by the attorney general to respond to the charges and defend themselves . they chose to sue instead . the pa. supreme court ordered the 800 page document to be stricken of those 12 names out of over 300 . the decision of the supreme court was a temporary order until further arguments can be made .

    “The PA report is a carefully crafted product of selective investigation and reporting.”

    the pa. report is a product of the grand jury working with all six diocese that were studied . they involved representatives of each diocese and used the documents of the dioceses . only one bishop attended personally (bishop of erie) but all were invited . the other five sent representatives .

    after reading 800 + pages one might wish that they had been more selective, but they did a good job of giving the scope of the problem that the church has had .

    your trashing of the report is baseless .

  194. i don’t see your “simple query” as being a straightforward query to me or to anything i wrote . it is a rhetorical question that shows that you have not read anything i have written here or elsewhere . it again suggests that you are a troll .

  195. So Matthew 16:19, Matthew 18:18 are also outside your “rigorous testing?” The Incarnation as described in Matthew, and Luke? Are they outside the pale?

  196. Sorry. I’m guessing there’s no good news there. I’ll stick with the Incarnation and the Forgiveness of Sins.

  197. Ok, an example: go the second referenced website by clicking on it above. Go to line 026 and click on it. Up will come the NT references etc. to the Incarnation and various summaries from many NT exegetes as to why the incarnation is historically nil.

    The first web site is used to get the reference to the overall summary using Professor Crossan’s inventory of NT passages. In this case, Matt 1:18-25 being one reference to the incarnation. If you want to use the first website to find the appropriate line in the second website, click on the first website above. Use Find on the Edit menu of IE putting in Matt 1: and the scroll through the stratum inventories (l-lV) until you get to Matt 1: 18-25. Note it is line 026 which you use the find the overall summaries of the incarnation in the second website. You can use this method to analyze almost every passage of the NT for historic authenticity.

  198. I don’t need to. The assemblers of the canon were much closer in history. They determined validity as inspiration of the Spirit. If you deny the resurrection, the full purpose flowing from the incarnation is lost.

  199. What spirit might that be? Apparently, not a spirit that is willing to look at history with an open mind . My Catholic spirit got smart 15 years ago by reading outside the bible box trap.

  200. Reminds me of the raccoon we caught in a box trap by mistake. We scared her so much she fainted, just looking at us. She revived after being let go. The Holy Spirit will set you free if you read Sacred Scripture with an open heart.

  201. Again what spirit might that be? Sounds like typical Catholic brainwash.

  202. You’ll find mention of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Bible, but perhaps not your holey Bible.

  203. Your comment about holey Bible is childish but let us persevere on the Holy Spirit and the Bible and whether said passages have any meaning historically:

    (1) Thom44
    (2) 2Q: Luke 12:10 = Matt 12:32
    (3) Mark 3:28-30 = Matt 12:31,32b
    (4) Did 11:7

    http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb023.html

    and John 3: 6-8

    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=194_Flesh_and_Spirit

    And keep this in mind when you read about Jesus:

    JC’s family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 “And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.”)

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann’s conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit “touched”. After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today’s world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J’s gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today’s followers of Paul et al’s “magic-man” are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and “magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah/Argentinean white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices.

    And since you refuse to look outside the NT for historic proof of said book’s authentic passages, any further discussion with you is futile.

  204. The Sin against the Holy Spirit is nothing to mess with. Please get a hold of yourself. You will find that you — your spirit is reaching out to the Holy Spirit, and Jesus can heal your hurt, from whatever it is. Good bye.

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