priest in dark confession booth
Should priests be required to report child sex abuse they hear in confession?

Who should be required by law to report child sex abuse allegations to the police? Not priests, says the Catholic Church – at least not if they come by that information in the confession booth.

Lawmakers in Washington state are pushing a pair of bills which would add clergy to the list of mandatory reporters, people who are required by law to report child abuse or neglect allegations to authorities if they have a reasonable belief that such activity is taking place.

Teachers, medical personnel, police, and social workers are all counted as mandatory reporters in Washington, as well as pretty much any profession which may have significant interaction with children. 

But clergy are currently exempt from this legal obligation to report child abuse in Washington and many other states.

Faith leaders say they're open to changing the rules, but they want an important concession.

Clergy-Penitent Privilege

Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, and Mormon leadership have all fought tooth and nail to retain clergy-penitent privilege and have defeated some 120 proposed bills and counting nationwide which would have eliminated the loophole. 

Only a small handful of states have managed to strike the loophole from the books.

During the height of the Catholic sex abuse scandal in the mid-2000s, the Catholic Church fought against a similar legal movement in Washington, and won.

Now, it seems, they’ve changed their tune; the Church is in support of making clergy mandatory reporters – with one major caveat, however.

Catholic leadership says it will back the changes only if clergy-penitent privilege is retained, a protection which exempts clergy from having to report child sex abuse if they come by that information through confession. 

Is the Confession Booth a Protected Space?

Many faith leaders say this protection is a simple matter of religious freedom, and is guaranteed by the First Amendment. 

“It’s a part of faith and religion and a practice that secular government doesn’t have any place to impinge on,” argues Mario Villanueva, executive director of the Washington State Catholic Conference. 

Religious freedom advocates also say that removing clergy-penitent privilege could discourage confession of such sins.

However, advocates for the bills – many of them abuse survivors themselves – argue that the safety of children should come first.

“I bring this legislation before you today because children need to be able to trust adults, and they need to have trust in adults in their life that when they’re being abused they can go to them and trust that they will help make it stop,” said State Sen. Noel Frame. “We have to prioritize the safety of those children and we need to compel our religious leaders to report this abuse when they know it’s happening.”

“I just think the idea that clergy have a duty to report when they hear about [sexual abuse] has got to be a no-brainer,” she added. “It’s about protecting children.”

What do you think? Should clergy be added to the mandatory reporters list, or should clergy-penitent privilege be kept in place?


  1. David Messenger's Avatar David Messenger

    Heaven forbid a Catholic priest should be obligated to report child abuse. How many children now have been sexually abused by Catholic priests, snd the Catholic church has covered it up, protected these pedophiles? F*** them, there will be a reckoning

    1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

      I believe my dad's suspicions are what kept him from letting my younger brother and I from being altar boys.

      Though I left the Church and Christianity shortly after I turned 18 in March 1975, I still feel sadness about things like this, and parishes closing, because the Church has been part of my family history for well over a Millenium.

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        The priests where I was an altarboy must have been straight. They never even offered to give me a BJ. I knew a nun named Sister B.J., but unfortunately that stood for Barbara Jean.

    2. Mary's Avatar Mary

      If this happened the pedos would just stop going to confession. Criminals at least ones with some brains have evolved to avoid entrapment. It's too bad someone has Facebook them LIVE so the world could hear what is confessed as it is happening.

  1. Wilberta M. Berry's Avatar Wilberta M. Berry

    I believe anyone no matter their profession should report child abuse, even neighbors and friends. As far as I am concerned not reporting child abuse is what helped the Catholic priest to get away with sexually abusing children for Centuries.

    Naturally they would be against it in confessional.

    Jesus may have said " suffer little children to come to me". However, I don't think he was literally talking about through child abuse.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    All minister's should report child abuse at any level why be afraid.As long as they have Not committed the evil sin themselves and it gets those involved arrested more quickly and prosecuted.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Well...and there you have religion in a nutshell....brilliant!

    Amazingly, most of mankind actually follows world religions, all believing they have the truth, using what they idiotically It's laughable, right? And these people, who are so easily conned, even have the power to vote at elections. Absolutely frightening! 😱


  1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

    Where does it say in the bible to protect child abusers? I am so tired of the Catholic church not taking responsibility for child abuse. Yet, the spend the billions in profit to fight laws that require them to report child abuse. They’ve used their money to protect their own abusers.

    Freedom of religion guarantees to right to practice whatever religion you choose to practice. It does not give you cart Blanche to ignore laws, discriminate, or shield criminals. Based on their track record, I would not trust a priest to handle child abuse accusations in a way that benefits the child.

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    A priest who fails to report, should be charged with obstruction, as well as aiding and abbeting. They just don't want to have to reveal their fellow priests actions.

    1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      A priest, pastor or bishop should be reporting as that is the “right” thing to do. Don’t you find it interesting that Christians and Mormons think they should be able to rape and molest children and get away with it?

  1. Robert Hauck, MD, FAAP's Avatar Robert Hauck, MD, FAAP

    A counselor's office, a teacher's insider information, my medical visit are equally as privileged and "sacred" as the priest's confessional. Over my years of pediatric practice I encountered many abused children and young adults who had turned to their trusted priest in desperation, only to have their report swept under the ecclesiastical rug.
    The Church's opposition to full and complete reporting of child abuse is yet another black mark against their already dishonored bureaucracy. Mandatory reporting should be universal.

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    Having been a Mandated Reporter I see no reason why Priests should be given an out. No where in the Bible does it say to confess our sins to another human to be forgiven. It is only God Himself that can give us forgiveness. Two people hiding in a wooden box are just that. Hiding. Make the priests report such crimes when they hear of them.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Well, Colleen, if anyone is hiding it’s your supposedly omnipotent God. It would be nice if he had the power once in a while to actually show up for real, even if it’s just to cure little children dying of cancer. 🤷🏼


    2. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher


  1. Sandra Cottam-Shea's Avatar Sandra Cottam-Shea

    There is obviously something wrong with the people who are trying to stop child abuse being reported. Why are they trying to block it? Why aren't they willing to protect our children? Why are humans still believing that organised, dogmatic, controlling religions are the only way to know the divine and pure love. It is up to us to change things. Stop bloody going to these corrupt institutions

  1. Cindy L Edgar's Avatar Cindy L Edgar

    I believe all ministers and priests should not be able to hide anything from anybody they should have to tell just like everybody else they should not have segregated laws believe me if somebody was to come and report an abuse to me and I am a priestess I would turn them in in a hot second I consider the priest and the ministers that hide that stuff the ones that are doing that kind of stuff

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      It just goes to further prove that Catholic priests don't think there's anything wrong with child abuse, since they do it themselves. They probably don't even tell such penitents to say two Our Father's and three Jail Mary's, like they tell everyone else, but give them a pat on the back (and maybe a little extra), and tell them to keep up the good work. They'll never snitch on their own kind.

      1. Beth's Avatar Beth

        Or, get the names of the victims. The priest would then have names of children who are pre-groomed to accept the sexual advances of an adult without the ability or knowledge of how to report it, or even that it is something to report.

  1. Bishop William Dusenberry, DD's Avatar Bishop William Dusenberry, DD

    Absolutely, the worst child abuse, by the Roman Catholic church (and, practically all other churches) is the religious brainwashing they impose (force) on to their naive' vulnerable pre-adolescents -- who unable to differentiate between superstition-based mythology and reality.

    Kids raised on the "Golden Rule" (as opposed to a vindictive God in the sky)

    Kids raised on the basic logic of the Golden Rule -- would report immediately -- all other types of pre-adolescent abuse. types of other abuses.

  1. Larry R Mowrer Jr's Avatar Larry R Mowrer Jr

    When it comes to children it should absolutely be reported.

  1. Allen Nace's Avatar Allen Nace

    Confession needs to remain confidential. It pains me in some ways to say it but it does. Confession is a religious act that allows for the internal cleansing of the soul and is between God and the individual. The Priest is the intermediary. It is a religious act. It is the public coming into a church where they may express their faith and unburdening their self. If it is not confidential then people will not use t and the increase in mental health damage will become obvious. It is not about forgiveness by the public or by a victim. It is about forgiveness from God. Very different and must be maintained IF there is to be a church and a belief in God. It is different from abuses inflicted by members of the church which must be exposed.

    1. Brien's Avatar Brien

      No. Simple. You are not shielded from your horrible crime just because you walked into a wooden booth and told someone about it. God judges soul. Man judges man. I really did not believe that I would find ANYONE in favor of hiding such a horrible crime. But now I am convinced that all of Christianity, all of organized religion is based on evil, and continues to promote evil. Humanity must lose this evil. I normally end by saying Peace, but in this case, there is no peace as long as child abuse is protected by zealots.

    2. Susan Carey-Bullard's Avatar Susan Carey-Bullard

      I also was brain-washed by the organized religion called Catholicism. NO MORE!!!! Quit protecting the SOB's who hurt our children, including YOUR OWN PREISTS!!!
      This moral issue is for saving about we start young...and not protect those who have already gone TOO FAR. GOD will need to judge and help those who have already victimized our children, We need to have our kids backs! Save them before it is too late. Repent in jail, molesters...

    3. Edmondo Donato's Avatar Edmondo Donato

      The confessional must be off limits!

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Burn the confessionals, and just work athe 5th step with your sponsor. You might also try rational self analysis.

        1. Beth's Avatar Beth

          Yes. Note that 12-step sponsors, nor meetings, are exempt from reporting crimes confessed therein. They can be charged as an accessory if they know about a crime that was committed and fail to report it.

          A priest in a confessional can make absolution conditional upon the penitent criminal turning themselves into the law.

  1. Susanna Elaine Harding's Avatar Susanna Elaine Harding

    The confessional is exempt for a reason. The penitent needs a place to unburden his soul.

    This must remain. There can be no exceptions. If we make an exception for child abuse, down the road there might arise a discussion to make an exception for this, or that. That is not acceptable.

    The confessional cannot be subject to the whims of the moral panic of the day.

    As for me ... I have been told a few things, and I have sworn to not repeat them. When I signed on to this thing, I agreed, as did Sir Thomas More, to be " ... His Majesty's good friend. But God's first.".

  1. Cindy L Edgar's Avatar Cindy L Edgar

    Nobody is forbidden to hide the fact that child abuse exist a minister a priest even an ordained minister should be obligated to tell the truth and not hide the fact that somebody did something horrible to a child

  1. Charles Jude Platt's Avatar Charles Jude Platt

    "Give to Cesare what is Cesare's, and to God what is God's" it seems that never meant enything in the RC Church. Protecting child abusers, lock them all up. What a disgrace they have become with their BS.

  1. Joe Stutler's Avatar Joe Stutler

    International pedophilia conglomerate believes woo should shield them from their crimes. Nope. Deal with them right here...render unto Caesar.... introduce them to their creator/worms in the here-and-now, along with all who enabled them.

  1. Rev. Kev's Avatar Rev. Kev

    I honestly see no reason to block this effort to have clergy as mandatory reporters. Add on to that the fact that the right to privacy in confession isn't absolute. For example, the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law offers a clarification. Canon 987 in the Code states: "To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God". Sexual predators, by nature of their mental illness, are unlikely to reject continuing to sin or make amends to injured parties without the intervention of trained mental health professionals. Thus the confession is invalid. Any priest or minister with an actual conscience should also take innocent third parties in mind. I'd see it as a sin of omission -- if not directly abetting a crime against another -- to simply let someone with a mental illness walk away with a clear conscience to victimize someone else.

    IMO they shouldn't even need to make this a law. The clergy, who are supposed to be role models of love and compassion 'for the least of them' (Matthew 25:40) should be doing this already as a matter of practise. It's a crazy case of dogmatism over humanitarianism. I don't think Jesus would approve.

  1. Dr. Bob Thomas's Avatar Dr. Bob Thomas

    Simple enough, just let Children know who they can go to for help with this. Teach them about the confessional and what it represents. Children are not completely ignorant. I have seen as a High School Teacher for close to three decades, that when a child is strong enough to seek help for this, they know who to approach.

    As for the abuse of the really young, that falls upon us.

    We all, ALL, must be vigilant in identifying abuse at EVERY level. That is an individual responsibility. If you do not know the signs of abuse, then learn them. Then do the right thing.

    As for within the confessional, wouldn't it be the one commiting the abuse that would seek forgiveness? For me, that would be the only dilemma.

    I do not agree that the confessional should be violated. Especially when there are so many other ways to deal with this. Emotions, feelings, and the like should not be the deciding factor to rip up the Bill of Rights. The articles are not perfect. But they were never intended to be. Nor do they catch everything. And mistakes have been made. On both sides of that isaue.

    Roe v Wade is a perfect example of this. For a while, smooth talking influential groups managed to convince the Court that a woman has a right to kill her unborn child. (I can imagine the entire continual congress reacting to that discussion!) There are others too that were just as emotionally charged.

    I find myself in agreement with the current Court, that the minds of those who framed the Bill of Rights must influence the interpretation of each article. So many things that were not even possible at that time have been used to make those articles say things that are just too long of a reach for someone living in the late 1,700's.

    Slick sounding arguments, impassioned public orators, and groups that refuse to hear opposing viewpoints or have managed to shout them down, have time and again put that document to the test. While they achieved some gain from their efforts, they only end up seeing everything that they did overturned when calmer minds finely were allowed to speak up.

    The American Justice System is slow, ponderous, heavy handed and even heavier influenced. However, it remains one of the best in the world today. Above all else, people can speak their mind freely. People can meet together freely. People can sleep without fear of being pulled from their bed, dragged into the street, and hung by the neck until dead, dead, dead for any of the above.

    I have been places where that very thing happened, and is still going on today. Places where just declaring an unapproved Faith will get you and your entire family slaughtered!

    You may take issue with my words, but you cannot deny what happens outside of this country is often times much worse that even the blackest imagination can give birth to.

    Keep the confessional protected. There are other and better ways to solve this problem.

    1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

      “ Simple enough, just let Children know who they can go to for help with this.”

      Even more simple solution would be to not to send them for the brainwashing treatments offered by The Church.

      1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

        @Dr. Zerpersande Bravo, well said.

        1. Dr. Bob Thomas's Avatar Dr. Bob Thomas


      2. Rev “D”'s Avatar Rev “D”

        100% spot on. The Good Doctor identified the disease, and clear best practice method to avoid exposure.

    2. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      @Dr. Bob Thomas In Oakland California where are the children to go? Young women are molested and rapped by priests, Mormon Bishops and Oakland police officers.... Who can the children trust?

    3. Susan Christine Giganti's Avatar Susan Christine Giganti

      Very often children are threatened by the abuser not to tell. They don’t have the psychological development to go somewhere to tell about abuse. This is why it’s up to the adults in their lives to protect them.

  1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

    Children suffer from gun violence every day. If a child is not killed or injured, then their friend, classmate, a family member or someone in the community is hurt by gun violence. If you really want to protect children from trauma, then repeal the Second Amendment. Parents are not charged when they fail to adequately secure their firearm, thereby allowing children to play with it and kill themselves, a sibling or a friend. For too long, we've allowed gun violence to traumatize children even if the child itself is not physically injured. Such trauma is more traumatizing than physical abuse. Don't complain about some child abuse and ignore others.

    1. Rev “D”'s Avatar Rev “D”

      Neither a car nor gun can commit a violent act. Term “gun violence” is used to blame a tool for a person’s actions. Do you blame the car for allowing the drunk to drive? Or is the car at fault also when child gets run over by a parent backing out driveway? If not, the blame is squarely applied to the person, not the tool. By you analogy “hammer violence” kills more then all rifle types combined, We should address “hammer violence” as trauma of cracked open skulls is certainly qualifying traumatizing to a child.,

      1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

        I agree with these qualifications: . Cars require training, testing and a license and insurance. Mostly, guns do not. Cars are secured from children and they have anti-theft devices. Mostly, guns do not. If guns required training, testing, a license, insurance and were secured from theft and children. then I'd agree with you. I don't know about hammers. Where did you find your hammer statistics, as I haven't read about hammers killing anyone very often? Actually, only once. In contrast, I read about gun violence multiple times every day.

        1. Rev “D”'s Avatar Rev “D”

          The hammer stats are from FBI’s Annual UCR data. BTW even more folks are beaten to death by hands & feet in USA then by rifles. I don't read about drunk driver arrest everyday, yet 28 people are still killed EVERY DAY by drunk drivers. DUI is against law yet in 2019, 10,142 people were killed by drunk drivers. Cars require licensing & insurance, yet I have to have extra coverage to cover all those unlicensed & uninsured motorists if they crash into me. Hmm?810,000 cars were stolen in 2019, vs 380,000 firearms. Wow cars not so secure after all.
          A lot of things are “traumatizing” Matter of fact, traffic crashes are leading cause of death for 5-14 year olds. But cars require licensing & insurance, so how come is leading cause of death for kids? Amusing all your “qualifications” doesn't change the “car violence” analogy, just proves inanimate objects like cars & firearms are not to blame, the human being using it is.

      2. Daniel-David's Avatar Daniel-David


        There’s a % of people who should not have access to a firearm. There’s a % of people who have firearms who should not have them.

        BLUNT FORCED TRAUMA, could be any thing from a frying pan to a baseball bat or a golf club. . (The way I play golf ⛳️ should be outlawed.)🌞

        The point, of course, is there are a larger % of people who find pistols and rifles with extended clips, range and muzzle velocity that far exceed any other weapon except for military issue.

        There are simple solutions to this problem.

        1.) universal background checks. 2.) limits of the number of guns, ammunition , clips and other items that make these weapons much more deadly. 3.) limit the quantity of ammunition you can buy at one time. 4.) Close the gun-show loophole.

        One of the mass shooters was denied a sale at one of the large sporting goods store for 300 rounds. He went to two others before he found a place to purchase the rounds.

        A simple data-base could have prevented that sale.

        So, let’s say a father wants to buy his son or daughter an AR-15 , I believe it would be no hindrance to buy it the previous week.

        NONE OF THOSE suggested ideas would deprive anyone of their rights in the 27-word, 2nd amendment.

        There’s more, just don’t have a lot of hope that any of this changes the minds and hearts of anyone. No swords into plowshares. ,

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    It's not just Catholics this is happening in the Mormon/LDS Church as well. YouTube/Reddit/TikTok have over 250,000 ex-Mormons telling what goes on in the Mormon church as well. The ex-Mormon women share stores of their Bishop forcing them into taking about intimate details of sex as they hit puberty. A Mormon Bishop who was also the town's mayor was recently arrested for molesting/rapping young little girls.

    And how can we forget the story of a pastor who from the pulpit told the congregation he repeatedly rapped and molested young teenage women. One would think someone in the congregation would have arrested him immediately. Nope, the entire congregation gave the pastor a standing ovation. One of the pastors victims years latter is still traumatized by what the pastor forced her to do.

    1. shash's Avatar shash

      i agree . i posted on this subjct today . might want to have a read . may you still be blessed

  1. Lidia C. Limon's Avatar Lidia C. Limon

    Bible says we confess to God, not man.

  1. Lidia C. Limon's Avatar Lidia C. Limon

    Bible says we confess to God, not man.

  1. Lisbeth Kieran Bushey's Avatar Lisbeth Kieran Bushey

    Everyone should be required to report harm being done to children no matter how they discovered it. It’s what the goddess and gods ask us to do: care for the children around us and make sure they aren’t being harmed. The Christian God himself has commanded Christians to care for the children and that any that do them harm are to be held accountable. The tradition of the Confession should not get in the way of that.

    1. Mary's Avatar Mary

      The christian god himself commanded all the first born in Egypt be killed and then the Angels came. NTM all the other Milions killed in his name. The story of moses and his claimed adoption. Yaaa kill all the new born but then one floats to them and they keep it. Yaa right sure. All man made stories and excuses to kill or blame it on a god.

  1. Patrick M Dorr's Avatar Patrick M Dorr

    If a crime is being reported in a religious confession, the religious authority can or really must condition forgiveness of the crime (or else becomes an unwitting accessory to the crime) only after it is reported to and processed by law enforcement - that is the penance. There is no other adequate penance. Spiritual forgiveness in the New Testament is not absolute. It is conditional on cleansing the spirit of evil impurities that are detested in heaven. If a crime is reported in a confessional but only to avoid being punished for the crime, then the criminal is not taking responsibility for his evil deed. I don't see how the spirit has been purified at all in the mind of God. The criminal is confessing to a religious authority in order to fool a lawful authority, which to me is compounding sin, not removing sin. The appropriate quote is: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6. Horrific acts of evil, abuse, hate, cruelty or violence cannot be snuck past God – because the perpetrators are treating God like an addle-patted doofus. Such people can't be recipients of grace or forgiveness or salvation because they are clever enough to outfox law enforcement and demean God. Religions can't allow their clergy to be made fools of by bad actors who are not serious about their own personal spiritual responsibilities.

  1. Deborah Lynn Strafuss's Avatar Deborah Lynn Strafuss

    It took me a little while to think about this. Beyond the moral rectitude of reporting abuses, there lies another aspect of maintaining penitence immunity. Once someone has confessed to some kind of abuse, even if the priest sees or notices something outside of the confessional, it is probably not reportable because the "penitent" has "confessed" in private. Who would determine what was under penitent immunity when behaviors both inside and outside the confessional may have occurred? Leaving this door open creates a complete out for the abuser and absolves the priesthood from reporting. So what if mandated reporting "discourages" people from the confessional. No one earns the right to absolve themselves of poisonous behaviors by telling someone "before God" in secret. Let their bad works come to the light to be judged. Hope that sounds nice and biblical!

  1. Donald J. Winfield's Avatar Donald J. Winfield

    Confessional admissions should be protected, the same as they are for murder, rape, robbery, etc. However, Priests are in a unique position to gain jnformation about sex crimes. A Priest learning about sex abuse and who has a belief that the information is credible, should be mandated to report it. If a child, spouse, or other person with credible information came to me with it, I would immediately report it.

  1. Bandy Dean  Craft's Avatar Bandy Dean Craft

    Catholicism is possibly the greatest religion from eary times However; This religion came to be Roman Catholic , Romans , the nailer on the cross guys. Though they have reached the far corners of the earth as we know it, they also made slaves for gold mining and are mostly still totalitarian profit minded from early Conquistadors, To The Grandest of all financially sound and with Incredible Temples And Riches..That Contain Idols for their badly misinformed and ultimately dedicated folowers to worship.

    1. Rev “D”'s Avatar Rev “D”

      One does not need to confess to another sinner/ priest to seek God’s forgiveness. 1 Timothy 2:5

  1. Paul Edward Nunis's Avatar Paul Edward Nunis

    That is a loophole for the abuser, the church should have no standing to be exempt as accessories.

  1. P. Keith Benefiel's Avatar P. Keith Benefiel

    It's called "aiding and abetting"

  1. Daniel Todd Kamm's Avatar Daniel Todd Kamm

    I am a mandated reporter and I report what I report. It is not my area to judge, investigate, or otherwise weigh it out. That is for the child protection agencies to do. I report a concern as mandated, children's protective services investigates, substantiates or not, and offers services, court ordered or not , and children's protective services and the courts determine whether the child remains in the home, what services are required for the child to remain in the home (safety) and determines what services are needed for the family to reunify or not.

    It's not that complicated, and clergy of all stripes should willingly be held to their states' mandates regarding child abuse, elder abuse, abuse of the mentally ill or developmentally disabled and other people at high risk. Those are the one's they should be protecting.

    No one gets a legal pass on illegal activity. I believe someone once said "render unto Caesar ... and render unto g-d....

    As a mental health clinician, I would think that clergy who are counseling or advising, would be working with offenders to do the right thing proactively: admit there is a problem, seek help for the problem, protect the victim et al.

    A few Hail Mary's and a promise to abstain from sin for some sort of absolution is not gonna work. The problem is more complex than that.

    There should be no question of defending the defenseless or nurturing the weak. And it's not just the christian churches who have the problem. It's a human problem. And the fix is a human fix.

    Stop making religious excuses. Religious freedom in this country does not mean a pass for abuse.

  1. Alexander Arends's Avatar Alexander Arends

    If priests have to report confessions about child abuse, good bye confessions. How would this be enforced? Will priests have to record all confessions in order to protect themselves? Or is the law going to send in fake offenders to see if they get reported?

    Rather than demanding clergy to report certain criminal activity to law enforcement, the church should allow, not demand the reporting of child abuse, or any other major crime they become aware of.

  1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

    To date in 2023, 6,278 people have died from gun violence. Of those who died from gun violence this year, 227 were teens and 36 were children. Why do we allow this trauma to children and teens themselves, their siblings, classmates, family or community members, while simultaneously trying to protect children from other forms of abuse. For example, parents and other gun owners are often not charged for failing to adequately secure their firearms, often in cars where the firearms are easily stolen and thereafter kill minors. Minors in middle school increasingly kill or injure their classmates. Why is these abuses acceptable while other forms of abuse vehemently opposed?

    1. Rev “D”'s Avatar Rev “D”
      1. Parents/firearm owner are routinely charged if their child uses a firearm.
      2. Often in cars is incorrect, where do you get your information?
      3. Minors killing minors is same abuse this thread is about. This thread is priest becoming mandatory reporters even from info received in confessional. Why are you abusing the conversation by constantly diverting it with your inaccurate gun rhetoric? Ask The Monastery to give you a column for your inaccuracy.
  1. Albert P Tuhro's Avatar Albert P Tuhro

    If in the parish I grew up in, had the priest reported crimes to the police, there would not be any parishioners left after a year.

  1. John Albert Daniel's Avatar John Albert Daniel

    If you pass a law to force people, to report a violation, then there Is no freedom of religon or or speech, government control, most who holla about protect our children, are only interested in themselves, they could care less about any one else or their children, your the parents protect your own kids, animals do it, poor parenting in a lot of cases, America is a mirror of nazi Germany.

    1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

      So what you're saying is that if someone knows that a child is being sexually abused, and they do nothing about it despite knowing a crime is being committed, they shouldn't receive any punishment?

    2. Rev “D”'s Avatar Rev “D”

      Haha, you practice whatever you want, you say what ever you want as long as it is backed by facts. Freedom comes with responsibility. You do not lose either religious neither freedom of speech in reporting a crime committed against those that cant speak for themselves. What a crock of bull**** you trying to sell to protect pedoes as you cry about such blatant ignorant mixing of Constitutional issues & nazism. SMDH!

  1. John Albert Daniel's Avatar John Albert Daniel


  1. shash's Avatar shash

    please excuse my spelling ;Simple answer here folks ; And as leaders /teachers/guides ... in our church . We must always at all times protect our children , plus we must always tell the truth . I have come across this . I advised the person to not only seek help , but to start making amends that they need to turn themselves in . i further advised them . There is only 3 entities in this universe than can forgive this act . the victim , Thier self , and god . this person did . yes this person is doing time . but following up on them , this person is getting the mental help they need . so is the family . sure , we must protect freedoms of religions , as well as confessions ; however . our greater promise is to protect our family's . so; on this ,here is my truth ; sex with children and murder ; I will not fore give nor bless this . I do not have the right to play god . I do have the right to work in his name as needed . Your welcome folks . And may you too be blessed with the peace of truth. Amen

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      May you too, Jack, be blessed with the truth. Currently, there is no demonstrable evidence for the reality of any of the worlds gods, especially those religions that say there is only the one God, which of course will be the one they believe in, possibly much like yourself.


      1. shash's Avatar shash

        This site is far too vulgar and obsene for me . folks are too picky on words . ii dont speak like this . i posted to briens post . You will understand then why I must leave this blog ... I enjoyed your words . But I must say good bye . Thank you for being You

    2. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      @Jack Collins I have to ask why is it Christians and Mormons feel they can rape and molest young children and get away with it. If you ever talk to the victim they will never forgive the perpetrator. The young girl who was rapped and molested by her youth pastors, the one that told his congregation he raped a young teenage girl from the pulpit and received a standing ovation has still not recovered. What this pastor did to her still haunts her everyday.

      Should we really protect religious freedom when they rape women and molest children? Or in the case of the Mormons lie to the government and hid Billions of dollars? Then they intentionally destroy evidence of their crime.

      Young people today are seeing religion for the farce it is. Religion is about controlling the poor, and uneducated while trying to “steal” as much money as they can in the name of God. As if God need the money or preachers need to live in homes costing tens of millions of dollars.

      1. shash's Avatar shash

        Douglas: I do understand . I was conceived into my mother in 1944 . she was 13 years old . a Morman leader(priest) ? Saved her and several other girls ; they all got pregnant , ..He was run off the reservation . See ; I am 1/2 native and 1/2 white . Two worlds and yet none . Yes , I am 78 . When I was 7 . We boys were forced into the boy scouts at the Morman church .Troop 1 ; at the retreat camp ,by a lake ?? several of us boys were forced ( Beaten ) , Into obeying what the eagle scouts and elders , and 5 old men wanted to do with us . ( I carried a knife . I sliced that old pervert when he tried to force that in my mouth . I ran away from that place . went up to the head building to the priest ( I think he was ) complained . And ;;; not a dam thing happened . I was kicked out of the scouts . I ran away and lived with my grandparents and the tribal elders . I was done with religion . I hated white people until I was about 25 or so . it has been a long road trying to live the best that I can in peace . Married , Raised 6 kids . now have 17 grandkids . We are native , natural , spiritual . So . I know for a fact . A victim NEVER !!! forgets . we must learn to live with it . many cannot . several times , I wanted to kill myself out of shame . 6 years ago , I finally told my family about it . Asfar as all those who did that and still do ;;; the law is coming . slow , but is coming ,. it is hard . to come forward and speak . but , we must . Thank you . for being on the side of victims . I decided that this monastery is my cup of tea . All religions , faiths , beliefs are welcome . So . I am ordained . But ;;;I am not a preacher . I administer as needed . Thank you and please walk in peace : Rev Jack PS : You may share my truth , But only my first name please

        1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

          @Jack Collins Thank you for sharing your story. There is no other way to put this but other than to say the Mormons sure treated the Native Americans in our country like ****. Are you familiar with the Mormon Mountain Meadow Massacre? The Mormons dressed up as Native Americans and murdered or 120 (probably more) in a series of attacks against an emigrant wagon train. As I recall the Mormons stole the children and and used them as slaves. Recently it was found in Brigham Young's diary that Brigham Young ordered the attack but at the time denied it.

          You might want to take a look at the Ex-Mormon channels on YouTube and Facebook. Mormons who left the church are telling their stories, especially the women. The women tell stories of how their Bishops forced them from age 10 to talk about sex. If you are up for it, you might want to share your story.

    3. Brien's Avatar Brien

      Excuse me Jack, tell me please, how the h*** do you make amends, (your words), to a child that you permanently damaged? Hmm? No, I am serious. Answer the question.

      1. shash's Avatar shash

        Brien : Greetings , It seems that you wish to take a few words and slam them ? If you would have read my posts ,besides these few words , you would not have slammed ? I explained Just one case . they found their amends , I never said that I know how to do it . Again , If you would have read my posts ? You would have read , that I am a victim of church leaders . I found my way to live with it . The church leaders threw me out of the scouts , I was raised by my grandparents ,away from church . Further more ; I was warned by my daughters and couple older Grand girls , that I would not like what people write or act on these message blogs . After reading how so many alleged spiritual leaders slam each other , curse , use obscenities .... I see what they meant . I do not curse nor do i use vulgar/obscene words . This will be my Last time on this blog . I just can not stoop to this low level of conduct by folks . Good bye everyone . And please have good luck and peace ,if you can

  1. Johnnie Carpenter's Avatar Johnnie Carpenter

    No, I don't believe in all the different beliefs in the Bible, but when it comes to my fathers words though Jesus, I believe all, as he said, he that believes in me, believes not in me, but in him that sent me. And judge not, for the measure you use will be measured to you. Wise words from my true brother.

  1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

    and after they confess do they get absolution and go say 3 hail marys?

  1. Rev. Howard Slayton's Avatar Rev. Howard Slayton

    Under no circumstances is anything which is revealed in the confessional to be divulged to anyone! Even if you are threatened with your life. The confessional is about seeking God’s forgiveness and reassurance, and doing a proper penance. That’s the way it has always been and I don’t care what law is passed, you are never going to get a priest to reveal the private confession of a parishioner. The government is tampering with a sacrament.

    1. Brien's Avatar Brien

      No, the PEOPLE are breaking down a belief system that needs to end.

    2. Deborah Lynn Strafuss's Avatar Deborah Lynn Strafuss

      I respect your sanctity of the process of true confession and repentance. Unfortunately, that is not how confession works. Many people use it to relieve their consciousnesses without anything approaching true repentance (changing directions and behaviors.)

      Pedophiles and abusers are not well. They are mentally and emotionally sick and need help and need to be stopped from repeating abuses. You do not repent your way out of mental illness. You get professional help and you pay for your "sins" by being safe-guarded from repeating them until you are able to manage yourself in a healthy way. Abuse is a mental/emotional health issue that causes what the church labels sinful behavior. Covering up mental health issues does not help people heal. These behaviors consistently and historically indicate the need for professional help to be effectively addressed with the abuser and to protect innocents from harm. Absolution and forgiveness from a third party religious agent will not bring about the changes and provide the help needed. That is already quite clear from the church's inability to curb this horrendous, sick behavior through "confession."

  1. Jose Francisco Vasquez's Avatar Jose Francisco Vasquez

    Where in religious teaching does it states that when the minister forgives a sin that is an illegal act under civil law it is also forgiven? When the minister forgives it is a religious act and not a civil act. The minister can and should do both and still be true to the faith. Forgive in the name of religion and report the act as a citizen obeying icily law.

    1. Mary's Avatar Mary

      I am a recovering catholic. It's not about the proest forgiving what you confess it's about their God forgiving you IF you confess.

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Mary, have you worked the fifth step yet? It's all about us for giving ourselves l, so we can live with a healthy conscience, so we won't have anything to get drunk over. I'm sixty years old, a member of the 33rd st. Group in Galveston, have been going to meetings since I was twenty, and will finally be getting a 29 year chip this month. It doesn't matter who we take that step with. Even a priest in a confessional will do. It's all about the same thing, even for normies, whether they know it or not.

        1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

          P.S. Regardless of who and what we confess our faults to, confession is good for the soul, so to speak. In other words, atleast to clear our minds of all that clutter, to help us live better within our own skins.

    2. Mary's Avatar Mary

      priest sorry for typo.

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

  1. Wellness Counselor's Avatar Wellness Counselor

    According to the Bible the law is accursed and we should take the matter before the the saints of the church. If court proceedings were held in church Innocent people wouldn’t need a lawyer.

    1 Corinthians 6 1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? 4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? 5 I say this to your shame Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, 6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 7Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.

    The justice system does not dispense justice. The prison system is not rehabilitating those they hold in captivity. Sexual offenses are the most mismanaged. What good does it do to hold an individual for 10 or 20 years to let them free without a family, a job, or the ability to obtain housing, who are also sex starved? That does not repay a debt to society. It pays the captors. Until the payment stops and then it’s societies problem. The law sees individuals, companies, and organizations defend against the harm they have done to another; acting to create more harm in denying justice, peace, and healing. May the God Lord have mercy on them.

    Should the priest be the only one to take confessions? That has proven itself to not be a good idea. But, together as God’s people we are better equip than anyone. It is unfortunate that very few of us have a church family. We are all blessed with gifts we could share. We don’t need answers, we need solutions. United under universal moral law, we are more than capable of miracles.

  1. Donald John Reynolds's Avatar Donald John Reynolds

    Any clergy that takes confession should be in absolute confidence between the minister and the penitent. Absolutely not reporting any thing to the police

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Donald, did you know that it's a felony to lie to the police. They better tell the truth, or plan to officiate their Masses in prison.

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        Donald, it's also not a good thing to go around promoting illegal acts. It's totally unethical, to say the least.

  1. shash's Avatar shash

    Greetings Everyone ; My daughters and Grand girls told me that I would not like what is said and done on these blogs . My answer was : this blog is for spiritual leaders . They would never stoop to those levels . Slamming each other , cursing , vulgarities , obscene words ... And the list goes on .... I don't do these things .Nor do I allow it in my presence . This site is NOT , for me . I spoke with truth , Those who see , and understand .. Did just that ! I just can not be part of a disgraceful mess like this . I feel sorry for all the good leaders here , it is a shame this site is not monitored . I will cancel from this blog . Good bye folks . I hope you find Peace

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Jack Collins, "Goodbye and good riddance"! If you ever get off your high horse Mr. Goodie-two-shoes you might want to give us another try.

  1. Rev “D”'s Avatar Rev “D”

    Of course the catholic church wants an exemption. How else do priests, monsignors, bishops, cardinals, and the pope himself openly confess (share) to each other which child is next for their sick demented pleasure. No exemptions, mandate for all, especially catholic clergy with such long well known history of child sex abuse, and criminally assisting in covering up for their fellow “Father Pedophiles clergy.”

  1. Rev “D”'s Avatar Rev “D”

    All claiming confessional MUST remain a ‘pedophile abuser’s’ safe space, 1 Timothy 2:5. You are welcome,
    Church requiring all congregants to confess or be in eternal damnation was nothing more then early surveillance techniques.

  1. Fr. Christopher's Avatar Fr. Christopher

    Supposedly ALL OF US are Clergy. The duty of Clergy is to be "his voice and his actions " on this planet filled with sin!!! Our duty has increased many fold. Without the immature swearing, let us all agree that if anyone we know, Clergy of Laity, we should have the "ability " to report anyone IF, AND ONLY IF, he doesn't listen to the Church policy we set forth such as,

    05) COME TO COUNSELING WITH US 3X A WEEK AS WELL ,and attend all church activities with out fail!!! 06) a way to apologize to the victim.

    The above is just a suggestion our church should endorse on MINOR offenses. The duty of the church is to make them better through Jesus Christ.



    MY OVERALL ANSWER is NO. Clergy should be exempt.... HOWEVER, have a plan of our own.

  1. David K. Smith's Avatar David K. Smith

    Does the Catholic church realize that if they make their Priests mandatory to report child abuse, that they will have to report all their Priests, Bishops and the Pope for molesting children?

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      David, I think they just get off to hearing kinky stories, not that they expect many of their pedophile priests to ever tell the truth.

  1. Angelic Realms's Avatar Angelic Realms

    No one seems to care about children much these days. No a spoken promise shouldn't absolve people of crimes. It's a joke already in mafia movies that the church ignores rampant crimes in exchange for hush money. It's not a time to take "moral high ground", and protrct criminals. Just read that several times.

    All the (freemason) people in power angle laws and rules, to promote and cover themselves not the innocent and defenseless. Look at the derailment du jour in OH. It's never going to end in any corrective action or fines.

    I understand that preists and other clergy are just humans and one person against a sinister system, but they are supposed to officers of God not criminals.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    I'm never lonely on this blog, Ehrman.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Ofcourse, it helps to have dialogue with our fellow ministers, instead of writing monologues, without giving responses to the other things said around here. To do otherwise, would put us in a very lonely place.

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