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Priests must report child abuse confessions or face jail

Priests could face ten years in prison if they fail to report child sex abuse revealed in confession.

In a move which will further sour ailing relations between church and state, new laws requiring priests to break the seal of the confessional are expected to be enacted by the end of the year and are one element of a suite of legislation to protect children and vulnerable adults, said the Republic's Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

But the new rules have prompted accusations of “very bad lawmaking” by the government from both legal and religious experts who believe they will create an obligation which priests cannot live with under Canon Law.

The new provision will require anyone with knowledge of child abuse to report it or face ten years in prison, with Mr Shatter confirming that priests given information on abuse in the confessional would be obliged to report it.

Belfast Telegraph