The Catholic Church in Australia has formally rejected the recommendation of a groundbreaking investigation that priests should be forced to report sexual abuse during their confessions.
The five-year investigation found that tens of thousands of children had been abused in Australian institutions. The Catholic Church had the most cases.
On Friday, Church leaders accepted most of the recommendations given by the investigation.
However, they reiterated that a breaking confession "contradicted our faith."
"We are committed to protecting children and vulnerable people while preserving the seal," the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference said in a statement.
"We do not consider the seal to be mutually exclusive."
Church leaders said they would investigate other proposals ̵
What did the investigation reveal?
The Royal Commission's investigation completed in December has heard more than 8,000 testimonies about abuse in churches, schools and sports clubs
19659019] More than 400 referrals have been made in government and other institutional sectors in its final report.
The government called the abuse a "national tragedy", started a compensation scheme for survivors, and said there would be a national apology on October 22.
Religious ministers and school teachers were the most common culprits. The investigation found that between 1950 and 2010, 7% of Australia's Catholic priests were involved.
The commissioners recommended that Catholic clergymen should be held criminally responsible if they did not report sexual abuse during the confessions.
The church should consider making celibacy voluntary for priests, as it was "not a direct cause of child sexual abuse" but "contributed to the sexual abuse of children, especially in combination with other risk factors".
- More: What? the report was recommended
What did the church say?
The Catholic Church has already opted for the Compensation Scheme, which will provide survivors with payments of up to A $ 150,000 (£ 85,000, $ 110,000).
Church leaders have consistently ruled out changing the confession – arguing that it violates religious beliefs and freedom.
In addition, they claimed that new rules would make perpetrators or victims less likely to be abused during the act To reveal confession.
But they vowed to end the coverup of the abuse – in accordance with the recent statements of the Pope – and to commit to several actions, including:
- Ask the Holy See to change canon law to include sexual abuse to describe as "crime" rather than "moral defects";
- A similar request about the introduction of voluntary celibacy
- Greater accountability to ensure that past mistakes were not repeated.
Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge said that there was a "dark side" of mandatory celibacy, but acknowledged that the Holy See would probably make little or no change.