The Catholic Weekly 20 September 2020

$2 20, September, 2020 CHINA AND THE CROSS BISHOP BACKS CURRICULUM P5 Clare Communications Co PTY LTD See our website for more information on our services This has attract- ed opposition fromCatholic and Orthodox stakeholders on a number of grounds.” Dr Sally Talbot MLC A WESTERN Australian par- liamentary committee has ad- vised that priests not be sub- ject to criminal sanctions for upholding the Seal of Confes- sion. The recommendation came in its report on the Children and Community Services Amendment Bill 2019, which passed the state’s Legislative Assembly in May and is now before the upper house. It is a remarkable reversal of the trend throughout the country to extend manda- tory reporting obligations to the practice of sacramental Confession. The WA report was published as Queensland passed a law requiring priests in its state to disclose a reason- able belief gained during Con- fession that a child sex offence has occurred or face three years in jail. In its current form, the WA bill would similarly require priests to break the sacra- ment’s absolute confidentiali- ty in known or suspected cases of sexual abuse. The five-member WA com- mittee recommended that “ministers of religion be ex- cused from criminal responsi- bility [of mandatory reporting] only when the grounds of their belief is based solely on infor- mation disclosed during reli- gious Confession.” In its report published on 10 September, the commit- tee chaired by Dr Sally Talbot MLC said that more than 90 percent of more than 600 in- quiry submissions were op- posed to breaking the Seal of Confession. MPs back Confession WA parliamentary committee’s recommendation on Reconciliation Seal bucks national trend ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodrigues Tributes flow for a gentle man TRIBUTES HAVE flowed for former NSW Premier and Chancellor of Australian Catholic University John Fa- hey AC who passed away last week. Mr Fahey, 75, entered eter- nal life on 12 September after being diagnosed with leukae- mia. A state funeral will be held on friday 25 September at 11amat St Mary’s cathedral. His life was anchored by ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodrigues his great loves - family, faith, football and the country of which he was so proud. Last November Pope Francis con- ferred onMr Fahey one of the Church’s highest awards – a papal knighthood – in recog- nition of his significant and distinguished service includ- ing as Chancellor of Austral- ia’s largest Catholic university and in state and federal poli- tics where Mr Fahey promot- ed a pro-lifemessage. Following the ceremony he told The Catholic Weekly he felt “terribly unworthy” of the honour.Mr Fahey saidhis moral compasswas drivenby the Church’s teachings from a young age and for the rest of his life he was never without his rosary beads in his right- hand pocket. Despite enduring trage- dy, particularly the death of his daughter Tiffany in a car accident in 2006, he said he counted himself “extraordi- narily blessed.” FULL STORY ON PAGE 3 “This has attracted opposi- tion from Catholic and Ortho- dox stakeholders on a num- ber of grounds, including that priests risk excommunication for breaking the Seal of Confes- sion, and victims who access the Confessional value its abso- lute confidentiality,” the report said. Thecommittee recommend- ed that the state government consult with religious ministers on “non-statutory provisions that would facilitate the effec- tive use of information received during religious Confession”. Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB and Coptic Or- thodox priest Father Abram Abdelmalek, representing the Coptic and Oriental Orthodox Churches, appeared at a hear- ing held by the committee on 6 August. Both confirmed “that they support the introduction of mandatory reporting for min- isters of religion, with the ex- ception of the Confession,” the committee noted. Archbishop Costelloe had expressed his “sincere belief” that the law would risk making the situation worse for present or past abuse victims, as well as make faithful priests “liable to prosecution and conviction as criminals”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A priest hears a penitent’s confession. PHOTO: GIOVANNI PORTELLI SPECIAL LIFTOUT

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