The Catholic Weekly 16 August 2020

$2 16, August, 2020 Clare Communications Co PTY LTD See our website for more information on our services No onewho seriously cares about victims of abusemust tamper with the confessional seal,” Archbishop Costelloe SDB PERTH ARCHBISHOP Tim- othy Costelloe SDB has ap- peared before a WA parliamen- tary committee to defend the seal of confession in the Catho- lic Church. He was joined by Coptic Orthodox priest Father Abram Abdelmalek representing the Coptic and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Archbishop Costelloe, who has also lodged a formal written submission to the inquiry into proposed changes to the state’s child protection laws, said he supported priests being man- datory reporters of child sexual abuse, but that the obligation should not be expanded to in- clude information gained by clergy during the Sacrament of Confession. No matter how well-intend- ed, the proposed legislation would not make children and young people any safer and may – given the inviolable trust in the confidentiality of the con- fessional – “make the situation worse for young people who are experiencing abuse or for older people who are seeing to address the abuse they suffered as a child”, he said. The Archbishop’s comments were given in testimony to the WA Parliamentary standing committee considering draft legislation chaired by Dr Sally Talbot on 6 August. A WA abuse victims’ advo- cate also told the committee the legislation was counterproduc- tive. “The Seal of Confession is a vital lifeline to those recovering from non-institutional child abuse,” James Parker told MPs At risk of backfire Draft WA legislation to force priests to break Seal of Confession will have opposite effect, prelate warns ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodrigues Fr Thomas, you are a priest forever AS THE famous United States Postal Service motto promis- es to deliver in spite of ‘nei- ther snow, nor rain, nor heat nor gloom of night’ - like- wise with the Priestly Frater- nity of Saint Peter (FSSP) who welcomed into their ranks Fr ¾ ¾ David Ryan Thomas Sofatzis in spite of the cold and rainy conditions on 9 August at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney by Auxil- iary Bishop Richard Umbers. Fr Sofatzis joins a frater- nity of approximately 320 priests worldwide - includ- ing in the local FSSP parish of the Maternal Heart of Mary in Lewisham. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the world - and local- ly- social distancing proce- dures and select numbers of attendees were arranged; yet the work of the priest- hood continues. FULL STORY ON PAGE 3 considering the legislation. “Survivors’ stories show therefore that the confessional remains the last place of com- plete safety within the commu- nity that keeps them alive as it manifests as a watertight place where compassion and healing are offered.” His testimony echoed Arch- bishop Costelloe’s, who told committee members the con- fessional “is a place where a victim can be listened to with- out cost, can remain anony- mous, can speak in complete confidence, and can decide what to share and what not to share. “No one who seriously cares about victims of abuse must tamper with the confessional seal,” he said. “I sincerely believe [it] runs the real risk of achieving exactly the opposite of what it is trying to achieve. Meanwhile, as confession plays an essential role in the practice of the Catholic faith, outlawing the Seal in some cas- es would render priests “who remain faithful to the obliga- tions they assumed at the time of their ordination, and were simply exercising an essential aspect of the practice of the Catholic faith, liable to prose- cution and conviction as crim- inals”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6 A Catholic demonstrates how Confessions are heard. PHOTO: CNS PHOTO/CHAZ MUTH HEALTHY HABITS FOR MARRIAGE GIVE A FREE ONLINE PILGRIMAGE A GO P12 P16