It is the twenty first century and the battle between the state and church is not over yet. The Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary Cardinal Mauro Piacenza on Monday issued a six-page document detailing why information revealed in the sacrament of penitence or reconciliation must be kept a secret as it holds a sacred position. The document which was approved by Pope Francis was a response to recent laws that obliged preists to disclose the details of child abuse that petinent reveals to them during confession.
The Vatican’s Courts Stance on The Matter
The Vatican stated that it felt necessary to intervene because the sanctity of the confessional seal was being undermined and the need to promote its importance was needed. Vatican’s move came after California’s legislature moved a bill requiring priests to reveal about child abuse details from the confessionals. The law if passed will make the situation of clergy members enigmatic as they will either have to break the law or violate the confessional seal.
Other States that Are Enacting the Laws
California is not the only American state to move this legislation. Other states of America and countries like Chile are also debating on bringing such laws. Ireland and two states of the Australia have already passed such law.
Despite this no reports of preists being prosecuted for not complying with law have emerged.
No Changes Can Be Made To the Seal Of Confession
Major Penitentiary, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza while signing the six-page document reportedly stated that though modern society may not be able to understand the level or the importance of confidentiality that governed the sacramental seal, It was nonetheless necessary for Preist’s freedom of conscious.
He further stated that the sacramental seal held great importance. No human or civil power could hold any jurisdiction on it. Even the church couldn’t make any changes to its framework under any condition as God had designed it.
A priest under any condition must keep the seal intact even if it led to his death and under church law this was the requirement.
On Prejudice Against Church
Major Penitentiary’s statement was also a reflection of why church needed its own legal authority.
He remarked that negative prejudice against the church had at the time forced the church to confer its own legal authority as compared to other civil laws governing the state.