Catholics Fighting Bill Requiring Priests Report Child Abuse

The Rev. Jason Lefor distributes the Holy Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body of Christ, to a member of St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in Pisek, N.D., on Sunday, Dec. 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas. Many services are seeing reduced numbers of worshippers (Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald)

I cannot imagine a scenario in which any decent human being would, in any circumstance, want to withhold from the appropriate authorities evidence of a child being harmed. Doing so only prolongs the injury or exploitation taking place.

Yet the Catholics are out to fight the bill. They’re concerned about priests being required to report abuse they may hear about in confession.

“Given the delicacy and greatness of this ministry and the respect due to persons, the Church declares that every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him. He can make no use of knowledge that confession gives him about penitents’ lives,” Christopher Dodson, a North Dakota lobbyist for the Catholic Church, told the Catholic News Service.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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