Case for confession secrecy - Baillieu
18th July 2012
Updated 19th July 2012
Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu says there is a powerful case to continue preserving the secrecy of the Catholic confessional.
A parliamentary committee into child sex abuse in the church is asking for submissions on whether rules on mandatory reporting of offences against children should be imposed on the confessional.
It will also consider whether new laws should be introduced that would see bishops face criminal charges for the misconduct of their priests.
Mr Baillieu said there was a strong argument for information divulged to priests during confession to remain secret.
'The Cummins report addressed this issue and ... concluded that the sanctity of the confessional should remain, and I think that's a powerful argument,' he told reporters.
An inquiry into protecting the state's vulnerable children, headed by former Supreme Court judge Philip Cummins, recommended the mandatory reporting rule that applies to professionals such as teachers, priests and others in religious organisations should be extended to other fields.
But its report, released in January this year, recommended information heard in confession should be exempt from the reporting rule.
The state government announced the parliamentary inquiry in April after a police report linked dozens of suicides to sexual abuse by Catholic clergymen.