Cleansing Fire

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Ides of March in NY

March 16th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

March 15 2019

“ALBANY, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Under a proposed New York law, Catholic priests would be required to report cases of child abuse revealed inside the confessional.

With the clerical sex abuse crisis continuing to unfold across the state’s eight dioceses, on Thursday, Assemblywoman Monica P. Wallace (D-Cheektowaga) introduced the CARE Act, a bill to force clergy of all faiths to notify law enforcement of child abuse.

Under current state law, dozens of professions are required to report harm to children, but a “clergy privilege” provision exempts priests from revealing crimes revealed in confession. Under the proposed CARE Act, ‘Such privilege shall not be grounds for failure to report a case of suspected child abuse or maltreatment.'”

Read entire article here:  https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/ny-bill-would-require-priests-to-report-child-abuse

See Cleansing Fire discussion from 2014 regarding overreach by State of Louisiana:  http://www.cleansingfire.org/2014/07/week-29-in-catholic-media-2014/

It is crucial that the Catholic Church fight against this provision of the proposed law, for the good of all souls, and that the laity become dramatically visible in that fight. Battles to save souls are not the battles to sit out. 

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7 Responses to “Ides of March in NY”

  1. avatar militia says:

    It sounds like this will make everybody stay behind the screen for confession so the priest never knows who is confessing. But it also sounds tough to prove unless the person confessing is a ‘plant’ who brings recording equipment. If it was genuine, wouldn’t that be self-incrimination? Is the priest supposed to jump up and go see who it is? I guess I’m confused about how it would work.

  2. avatar Eliza10 says:

    And they will use it to trap the good and pious priests. It’s a way to get them out of the way to continue the agenda forward.

  3. avatar christian says:

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to point out that there should be the two options for available for private confession for parishioners at parishes -behind a screen as in a traditional confessional -or face to face. There seems to have been a movement to encourage face to face confession within at least the last 40 years. All parishioners were expected to accept face to face confession.
    The other alternative was a parish penance service where all those not guilty of mortal sin could have their sins absolved in a communal setting. These communal penance services usually occurred prior to a major holy feast. Given the two options, many opted to just to attend communal penance services.

    In some parishes, there is no option for someone to have anonymity. There is face to face without a screen, or a set-up where the penitent walks into a room and then kneels down to a screen. In the latter option, the penitent can be seen when walking into the room before kneeling down to the screen.

    It was a mistake to remove private traditional confessionals out of many of the area churches or use them for storage closets.

    Many penitents feel more comfortable going to confession in a traditional confessional during an appointed confession time as that anonymity serves them better. They are less likely to go to confessional if they can’t have that assurance and confidence of anonymity in addition to personal, private, confidential confession.

    I. myself, have gone to confession in a traditional confessional, behind a screen set-up, or face to face. I acknowledge that there are different formats they serve different people’s needs and I hope that bishops and priests acknowledge that also.
    I actually think by pushing or actually enforcing face to face confession and trying to eliminate or actually eliminating anonymous, private confession in some parishes, the Catholic Church opened itself to the type of legal action that has just passed. I’m not implying the new ruling is right. But if confession was anonymous, how could a priest even be expected to testify in regard to a certain person’s confession if he wasn’t expected to know who the identity of the person?

  4. avatar christian says:

    Sorry for the typos in the above post.

  5. avatar christian says:

    Canon 21 of the Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215):

    “Let the priest absolutely beware that he does not by word or sign or by any manner whatever in any way betray the sinner: but if he should happen to need wiser counsel let him cautiously seek the same without any mention of person. For whoever shall dare to reveal a sin disclosed to him in the tribunal of penance we decree that he shall be not only deposed from the priestly office but that he shall also be sent into the confinement of a monastery to do perpetual penance.”
    —?Hefele-Leclercq, Histoire des Conciles at the year 1215; Mansi or Harduin, “Coll. conciliorum”

    For those interested in viewing “I Confess” the 1953 Alfred Hitchcock film in which he gives tribute to his Catholic faith, particularly the “seal of the confession,” it is being shown on the big screen locally, the day after Easter Sunday:

    “I Confess” (35mm)
    Monday, April 22nd, 2019
    1:30 P.M.
    Dryden Theater (of the George Eastman Museum), 900 East Ave,. Rochester, N.Y. 14607
    Admission:
    55 yrs. and older: Free
    General Admission: $10.00
    Members: $7.00
    Students with I.D.: $5.00
    17 yrs. and younger: Free

    I first came across this film, “I Confess” by Alfred Hitchcock, in the early part of the 1990’s in the movie rental department of a local Wegmans on VHS. I was so impressed by this film, that I talked about it to a priest at the parish I was attending. I also talked to various people about it and urged them to watch it. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t heard of this Alfred Hitchcock film. I have learned that there were mixed reviews when this movie came out, and Hitchcock had many critics who found it incredulous that a priest wouldn’t break the seal of the confession if his own life was in danger.

    Hitchcock made this statement knowing the difficulty non-Catholics would have understanding the reluctance of the priest to expose the care-taker. “We Catholics know that a priest cannot disclose the secret of the confessional, but the Protestants, the atheists, and the agnostics all say, ‘Ridiculous! No man would remain silent and sacrifice his life for such a thing.'”

    There were other critics who complained that “I Confess” didn’t have the same level of suspense, twists, and humor, as his other Hitchcock films. I think they didn’t get Hitchcock’s primary intent for filming this movie; a tribute to his Catholic faith.

    The film was shot on location in Quebec and the Diocese of Quebec allowed him to film inside local churches. I really don’t know how much support the Catholic Church showed Hitchcock in regard to “I Confess (1953),” because it was filmed and released before I was born. But area Catholics and other faith supporters have a chance of showing their support for this film on Mon., April 22nd, 2019, at the 1:30 P.M. showing, if they are able to attend.

    CorpusChristiWatershed.org -Views From the Choir Loft relays how Hitchcock’s “I Confess” shows “A Liturgical Sensibility.”
    http://www.ccwatershed.org/blog/2015/may/25/alfred-hitchcock-i-confess/

    Hitchcock was brought up in a staunch Catholic family, and there were many Catholic priests in his family. Hitchcock had difficulty adjusting to the changes of Vatican II and drifted away from the Church in mid-life, but eventually returned to active participation. Two Jesuit priests visited Hitchcock at his Bel Air, Los Angeles, California home in his later years and conducted Mass at his home. One of those priests recounted how Hitchcock made his replies “in Latin, the old way” during the Mass. But what struck this priest the most, was how Hitchcock would silently cry after receiving Holy Communion; the tears streaming down his cheeks. Alfred Hitchcock died on April 29th, 1980. I can’t help but think that Hitchcock would have benefited from a licit Latin Mass Community had one been available to him, especially following Vatican II (as would have many Catholics).

  6. avatar militia says:

    Christian, it is my understanding that a priest can set up the confessional so he does not have to allow people to confess ‘face-to-face.’ Do you know if that is true? And, on the other hand, I think that the one who confesses can legitimately refuse to go face-to-face. Your thoughts?

    I think what a priest has to fear is someone ‘setting him up’ – confessing a ‘fake sin of abuse’ so that when the priest doesn’t report it, the fake ‘sinner’ has a recording of some kind to indict the priest. Technically, I guess if someone confesses a ‘fake sin’ then he really hasn’t confessed a sin of abuse at all. But they probably wouldn’t agree in Australia.

  7. avatar christian says:

    militia-
    First, it would be difficult for a priest assigned to a particular parish to set-up a situation of anonymity if no such space exists in that church. A kneeler with a screen for use in a designated room does not guarantee anonymity as one could potentially be seen coming into the room before kneeling down. How would a priest be able to set-up in that situation to facilitate anonymity? The screen would have to extend at least six feet beyond the top of the kneeler and at least 4 feet wide. I suppose if the assigned priest had carpentry and wood-working skills, he could construct such a screen. But why would a priest have to go to that length when there had already been suitable confessionals available in that church?

    Parishioners were not consulted before confessionals were removed or used as storage closets in many of the area churches. That fact alone, suggests the forced options of face-to-face or kneeler with screen in a designated room. A parishioner could legitimately refuse face-to-face confession in such a church, but where could they go to get the traditional confessional to help facilitate anonymity? They would have to go to a parish that has the traditional confessional(s) during their designated hours for confession. On the positive side, there are still churches that have traditional confessionals available and there are some churches who have had newly constructed confessionals which offer the penitent the option of kneeling or sitting.

    I know there are some people who are concerned with a priest recognizing their voice during confession, even if they use a traditional confessional. One Catholic I know went to another parish out of the way, to ensure he had anonymity and was somewhat surprised and probably intimidated, when the priest confessor recognized his voice and greeted him by name.

    For those who prefer anonymity in a traditional confessional, confession days and times for parishes who have these accommodations should be listed on a Diocese webpage, in the Catholic Courier, or in a circular distributed at parishes throughout the Diocese.

    The above considerations were posted on parishioners would want a choice and address how many parishes had taken away the choice of a traditional confessional.

    Second- if confessions were conducted with anonymity, how would the priest know who he was talking to? He would only know if someone identified themself. Even then, there is a chance for some reason, the penitent could give a false identity. A penitent could also deliberately or unintentionally accuse the wrong person or an innocent person.

    A confession is not intended as an official reporting venue, but where one can receive counseling and guidance in addition to absolution for their sins. That counseling and guidance could come in the form of telling a penitent they need to turn themselves in to the authorities, such as the police, for committing a crime, or relaying to a penitent that they had not committed a sin, they were a victim of abuse and should report their abuse to their parents, a teacher, or physician, so they could contact the police on their behalf, or if old enough, contact the police themself. Counseling and guidance also come in the way of helping a penitent distinguish what is a true sin and what is an accidental occurrence, and if someone is subject to a particular repeated sin, actions that can be taken to help them avoid that sin.

    It would make more sense that if a victim wanted to report abuse on the behalf of another clergy, parishioner, relative, or other person to a priest, they would do it outside of confession.

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