Priest Will Defy Law On Reporting Sexual Abuse

Catholic priests will break the law to protect sexual abusers.

A new law requires them to report sexual abuse disclosed to them in the confession box, failure to do so could result in a 10-year jail sentences.

Fr Sean McDonagh of the Association of Catholic Priests, which represents 800 clergymen, warned last night: "I certainly wouldn't be willing to break the seal of confession for anyone -- Alan Shatter particularly."

The defiant stance comes after Justice Minister Alan Shatter confirmed the mandatory reporting requirement would apply to priests hearing confession.

"The seal of the confessional is inviolable as far as I am concerned, and that's the end of the matter," said Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Raymond Field.

The new law introduced by Mr Shatter states that every person must report suspected sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults to gardai, the churches response has put them in direct opposition to this.

Shatter said last night: "I would expect that if there was someone going to confession who was a serial sex abuser, I don't know how anyone could live with their conscience if they didn't refer that to the gardai."

The church has excommunicated priests in the past for revealing details of confessions.


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