Following on from the Report compiled about sexual abuse in Manchester and the failings that it highlighted, the suggestion was put forward that the Confessional should be able to breach confidentiality in cases of sexual violence.
Whilst this is currently not legal, it should be, and change should happen quickly. The Church and any faith group, cannot absolve itself from responsibility to victims and potential victims.
I have heard from a couple of clergy who feel that the confidentiality of the confessional should remain absolute, but when asked “What about the victims?”, the silence was deafening.
Whilst they argued that absolution should only happen once the perpetrator had been to the police and admitted what they had done, this is not sufficient. Sin which is criminal and hurts someone else, which may impact them for life, cannot be protected – as it is deemed as condoning. There can be no guarantee that someone who asks for forgiveness, or admits that they have done wrong, will never do the same again. People cannot be made sacrifices in the hope that the perpetrator will confess and go to the authorities. It is too big a risk.
Forgiveness without any need for justice is a false gospel. Forgiveness and justice go hand in hand, but safety is vital. This is just as true for domestic violence.