LA- Unusual court ruling on confession, SNAP responds

LA- Unusual court ruling on confession, SNAP responds

For immediate release: Monday, July 7, 2014 

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

The Louisiana Supreme Court may compel a Catholic priest to testify in court about an alleged confession in a clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit.

http://www.nola.com/crime/baton-rouge/index.ssf/2014/07/priest_confession_testimony_lo.html

This is what happens when Catholic officials conceal child sex crimes for decades – they lose credibility among judges. And this is what happens when Catholic officials deliberately and deceptively exploit confessional confidentiality.

Often, we've seen Catholic officials falsely claim that conversations about abuse were confessions, so they could keep hiding the truth from police, prosecutors, parents and parishioners. We hope that's not the case here.

We hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups by Baton Rouge Catholic officials – will speak up, get help, expose wrongdoers and protect kids.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 2,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com

Comments

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  • commented 2014-07-08 16:39:43 -0500
    I would suggest to you that the underlying reason the Roman Catholic clergy so jealously guards the “inviolable seal of confession” is in truth because it affords their priests / bishops a very convenient excuse for not disclosing crimes against children they have committed and confided to one another in the privacy of the confessional box!
    A case in point:
    • A FORMER Catholic priest in Queensland, Australia, went to confession more than 1,500 times to admit sexually abusing boys. He was told to go home and pray. In a 2003 affidavit,
      then 68-year-old Michael Joseph McArdle, who was jailed for six years in October of that year, claimed to have made confession about his paedophile activities to about 30 priests over a 25-year period.


    He noted: “As the children would leave after each respective assault, I would feel an overwhelming
    sense of sadness for them and remorse, so much so it would almost be physical. I was devastated after the assaults, every one of them. So distressed would I become that I would attend confessionals weekly and on other occasions fortnightly and would confess that I had been
    sexually assaulting young boys.” He said the only assistance or advice he was given was to undertake penance in the form of prayer.

    He claimed that after each confession, “it was like a magic wand had been waved over me.” McArdle’s affidavit would appear to contradict a widespread view in Ireland that child sex abusers are unlikely to admit such abuse to a priest in the confessional. Common sense would suggest that priest abusers particularly, and as above, would be likely to avail of the seal of the confessional as they seek forgiveness for what they have done and maybe even help in controlling their impulses. More is required in such cases of the confessor priest than penance, prayer and sympathy.

    *Source: Irish Times / Link:
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/0901/1224303291837.html
    Article: Confessional secrets / Thu, Sep 01, 2011
  • commented 2014-07-08 16:39:34 -0500
    I would suggest to you that the underlying reason the Roman Catholic clergy so jealously guards the “inviolable seal of confession” is in truth because it affords their priests / bishops a very convenient excuse for not disclosing crimes against children they have committed and confided to one another in the privacy of the confessional box!
    A case in point:
    • A FORMER Catholic priest in Queensland, Australia, went to confession more than 1,500 times to admit sexually abusing boys. He was told to go home and pray. In a 2003 affidavit,
      then 68-year-old Michael Joseph McArdle, who was jailed for six years in October of that year, claimed to have made confession about his paedophile activities to about 30 priests over a 25-year period.


    He noted: “As the children would leave after each respective assault, I would feel an overwhelming
    sense of sadness for them and remorse, so much so it would almost be physical. I was devastated after the assaults, every one of them. So distressed would I become that I would attend confessionals weekly and on other occasions fortnightly and would confess that I had been
    sexually assaulting young boys.” He said the only assistance or advice he was given was to undertake penance in the form of prayer.

    He claimed that after each confession, “it was like a magic wand had been waved over me.” McArdle’s affidavit would appear to contradict a widespread view in Ireland that child sex abusers are unlikely to admit such abuse to a priest in the confessional. Common sense would suggest that priest abusers particularly, and as above, would be likely to avail of the seal of the confessional as they seek forgiveness for what they have done and maybe even help in controlling their impulses. More is required in such cases of the confessor priest than penance, prayer and sympathy.

    *Source: Irish Times / Link:
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/0901/1224303291837.html
    Article: Confessional secrets / Thu, Sep 01, 2011
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