The Meeting Place

Waleed Aly and Lisa Wilkinson clash over proposed confession laws

The Project hosts Waleed Aly and Lisa Wilkinson have clashed over proposed laws requiring priests to report confessions of child abuse.

“For me it’s a no-brainer — there are children, many many many generations of children, who have suffered at the hands of priests who know better,” said Lisa Wilkinson.

But Aly was questioned the law, saying that if priests were required to report confessions of child abuse, it would “actually stop any of this happening”.

“I’m not a Catholic. I have no interest in defending the confession or the institution of the confession or whatever, but breaking the seal of confession for them — not for me or you, but for them — is an excommunicable offence. It means eternal damnation for them,” he said.

“So now you are giving them a choice between eternal damnation or a $10,000 fine. I just can’t see any of them making the decision to avoid a $10,000 fine for the sake of that.”

Wilkinson disagreed, saying it “removes the perpetrator’s chance of absolution”.

To which Aly repiled: “But it doesn’t, because if the priest believes enough to be a priest and cares about the confessional seal they’ve already said they will maintain that seal.”

“But what’s the alternative? You can’t let it continue, the Church has been a rule unto itself … if altar boys in particular are seen as prey for priests then we have to step in and in a major way,” replied Wilkinson.

“Stepping in in a major way is fine, but that doesn’t mean that every form of stepping in will work. … I get the appeal of legislating for that, but I can’t imagine the scenario in my head where it works,” answered Aly.

“I can’t imagine the Church continuing the way it has when we know what we know," said Wilkinson.

Making it mandatory for Catholic priests to report suspicions about abuse or admissions of guilt from church clergy was one of the key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Which side do you take?

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It gets me that anyone would be fooled into thinking they were confessing to GOD -- FHS, if they are then WHY, does a human priest have to be there to hear them -- they are FAR from God like!

Institutionalised child abuse is horrific, no one could argue that, but it is not limited to the Catholic Church and other churches and institutions don't have a confessional, so while changing the law about the confessional might help some, it is certainly not the full answer.

Actually, according to the Bureau of Statistics, children are more likely to be abused by a family member, family friend or neighbour, rather than a relative stranger.  The really disturbing thing about those statistics is that they are probably even under-represented given how sex offenders are so very good at getting the kids to keep their 'secret'. 

Sadly I don't know how we could guard against that, it often only comes to light when there is a tragedy.

This worshipping of a super human mythical being needs to stop!! We need to seperate the myth from the legend and stop all this non stop whaling and bell ringing!

You never know Adrianus

They may be aliens ;)

Have you read Eric von Daniken's "Was God an Alien"? I think he's hiding out with Salmon Rushti?


.... Aly's a "Wally" .......  always has been!    :-)




I can't stand either of them.

Anyone who knows about child abuse must report it, including priests. 

When was the last time you reported something of that nature?

I agree Reagan. No one should be exempt.

We all have responsibility to keep children safe

 I have had to do some reporting in my time.

How many Kids were abused by other places like homes they were put into -- and the poor Children that were sent out here by ship to be nothing but slaves -- -- yes the churches of ALL denominations are guilty as hell and so are many other places where Children gather.

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