THE GOVERNMENT HAS insisted that new laws which make it an offence not to report a crime will not give an exemption to priests.
The new rules are contained in a Criminal Justice Bill which is set to be introduced later this year – but priests have disputed the new rule, saying the ‘seal of confession’ should remain privileged.
The government insists that the Church’s canon law cannot be superior to civil law, but some believe the priests have a point: if a guilty person admits a crime to their legal advisor, they’re not obliged to inform the Gardaí, so a spiritual advisor shouldn’t be treated any differently.
But this week the troubling Cloyne Report found that in some cases, priests who knew about alleged child abuse had failed to notify the Gardaí – denying abuse victims the chance of a full legal investigation.
This morning we want to know, simply, what you think: should the new laws give priests an exemption from the mandatory reporting of a crime?