Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 16 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Bernadette Soubirous
home iconNews
line break icon

California confession bill passes state senate

KSIĄDZ W KONFESJONALE

Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 05/25/19

SB 360 must now be taken up by the assembly

In spite of protests that new legislation would be infringing upon religious liberty, the California state senate has overwhelmingly approved of a bill that would require Catholic priests to break the sacramental seal of confession.

The Senate on Friday voted 30-2 on Senate Bill 360, which would oblige priests to disclose information concerning the sexual abuse of minors that they hear in confession. The legislation now will be taken up by the state assembly.

“I am deeply disappointed with today’s Senate vote on SB 360, said Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez. “I continue to believe we can strengthen mandated reporting laws to protect children’s safety while at the same time preserving the sanctity of penitential communications.”

Priests are already mandated reporters—required to report cases of sexual abuse that they suspect, unless they hear about it in the confessional. California state Senator Jerry Hill wanted to eliminate that exception altogether. The bill he introduced has since been amended, requiring reporting if a priest learns about or suspects child abuse from hearing a confession of a fellow priest or co-worker. The bill no longer requires priests to report knowledge or suspicion of child abuse from hearing the confession of any penitent.

But that is “still an unacceptable intrusion by government into a sacred sacrament of the Catholic Church,” said Bill Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. In a statement, Donohue called SB 360 a “frontal assault on religious freedom.”

“We stand with Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez in calling on California’s government to strengthen mandatory reporting requirements while respecting the sanctity of penitential communications.”

Donohue predicted that the legislation would be unenforceable. “No priest is going to respect it and violate the sanctity of the confessional,” he said. “Moreover, Catholics are not required to respect unjust laws—and this is a clear example of such a law.”

Confession is sacrosanct, according to Catholic teaching, because it is communication between the penitent and God. According to Church law, a priest is automatically excommunicated if he reveals the contents of a confession.

“In the context of Confession, the priest, we hold, is operating in the very person of Christ, and therefore, the penitent is speaking to and hearing from the Lord himself,” Archbishop Gomez said earlier. “Thus, absolutely nothing ought to stand in the way of a sinner who seeks this font of grace.”

Tags:
Confession
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
2
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
3
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
4
SAINT FAUSTINA,CELL
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
St. Faustina’s coffee cup and lessons for Divine Mercy Sund...
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
St. Padre Pio: His life, his miracles and his legacy
6
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
7
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.