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Australian priest excommunicated for breaching the Seal of the Confessional

Frederique Voisin Demery
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The excommunication, which is automatic in this case, was approved by the Holy See

After two years of investigation, the Holy See decided to excommunicate a priest in Australia, the British Daily Mail reported today. The investigation revealed Father Ezinwanne Igbo had broken the Seal of the Confessional–the absolute duty of priests not to disclose anything that they learn from penitents in the Sacrament of Penance.

The facts, which go back to 2016, led to the opening of an investigation based on a dozen complaints against Father Igbo.

Originally from Nigeria, he was a priest at the Stella Maris Parish in Queensland.

The excommunication, which is automatic in this case, was approved by the Holy See, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Brisbane (Australia), dated February 7.

The sentence provides that the priest can no longer participate in public worship, nor celebrate or receive the sacraments. The sanction, however, can be lifted by the pope.

The lifting of the Seal of the Confessional was one of 189 requests in the December 2017 report on pedophile crimes committed in Australia.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane called for a three-day special fast during Lent, from February 14 to 16, as a “reparation” for the crimes of child sexual abuse. This call was relayed by all Australian bishops as an “authentic Catholic response.”

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