Its no secret that religious institutions are rife with child abuse and paedophilia across the board, the Catholic Church has been in the spotlight for some time now over the continual exposure of abuse within its ranks. Well, the Church of England is no different, in fact a Church of England working party that was commissioned in 2014 has decided against the abolition of the “Seal of the confessional”.
Assuming the Bishops agree which they most likely will, this means that no confessions of criminal acts within the Church will be required to be passed to the Police for investigation and prosecution.
How the current guidelines work within the Church is that any confession of criminal activity should be encouraged to be confessed to authorities by the penitent, however if the penitent refuses to do so the priest is not obliged to report the crime themselves.
The Welsh government introduced a legislative duty to report child abuse and neglect in 2016. There is no such law in England or Scotland.
Phil Johnson, of the church abuse survivors’ network Macsas, said the church had “missed an opportunity to take the moral high ground”. He went on to say:
“Churches, private schools and sports clubs have repeatedly demonstrated that they are more concerned about reputational damage than they are about the welfare of children or the victims of abuse.”
Children should be protected above all else, anyone who does not take action on information they have to prevent further crimes against children and hold those responsible for past crimes against children accountable are morally criminal themselves.
There are few laws required, most are mere rules to follow for profit or control by the state, for the state. However, the moral laws which all of us should abide by without question seem to be held so loosely by the state.
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