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Church has no right to rage against the law

The understandable outrage from the Catholic Church - and particularly the hierarchy - regarding the proposals to remove the legal protection of the confessional in the Irish Republic is to be expected.

However, the Church must realise that they had their chance to put their house in order and they blew it.

Not only that but, from the public perspective, virtually every utterance made by the Church on the child-abuse crisis has only confirmed that the Church is no longer capable, nor trusted, to set its own rules, or manage its own affairs. Unfortunately, this fact still hasn't fully registered with some in the Church. While some of us may be inclined to protect the sanctity of the Church, the reality is somewhat different.

The Church, having lost its moral compass in this matter, has shown itself to duplicitous and, in many cases, totally obstructive. Therefore, the natural respect and deference has gone.

Not only has the Catholic Church in Ireland lost its way, the Vatican also appears to believe itself to be beyond the law and above criticism.

Talk of martyr priests going to prison to protect child-abusers who confess in the confessional will impress very few. Ultimately, protecting a penitent who refuses to subject themselves to the law of the land is ignoring abuse.

Allowing an abuser to remain at large, free to abuse again, is aiding and abetting an offender.

CLIVE KIRKWOOD

Belfast

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