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Should priests report child abuse confessions ?
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Should priests report child abuse confessions ?

The sacrament of confession is one of the ways that Catholics exercise their faith to experience forgiveness of their sins and reconciliation to their church and God. But a debate has been raging about whether child abusers who confess to their priests should be reported to the police. Aïdêè Amba, 22, a Correspondent from Calabar in Nigeria argues that while the sanctity of confession should not be breached, the family and the church should take other steps to ensure child abuse is reported and stopped.

Recently, there has been insistence that Catholic priests should report child abusers who admit to their crimes in confession. This debate has escalated so much that almost everywhere you’ll find people on both sides of the argument. The topic came to the forefront as far back as around 2003, faded away, came back in 2009, continued up until 2010 then we heard little or nothing about it again until 2018 when it became intense again.As youths, we are caught up in it too, and have our thoughts, and opinions on the subject.

Should priests report child abusers who confide in them during confession? The answer is No. Honestly, hell no! If priests should start reporting those who confess to them, it would  be a sacrilege as they would be misusing their sacred power. When a person comes to confession, that person confesses under terms of confidentiality, and if that confidentiality is broken, there’s a problem.

Today,  people are demanding that priest should report child abusers, tomorrow they might require a law that forces priests to report liars, and soon enough, there might be no confidentiality in confession.

Besides, if it’s a legal requirement that priests report child abusers who confess their crimes to them, do you think anyone would go in for confession? Once the confidentiality of confession is breached in any way, people will stop confessing because the beauty of trust that is such an essential part of confession would be no more.

Many proponents of the argument claim that the Catholic Church and priests are hiding child abusers, and do not care about children in any way. This assumption is not correct. I have some thoughts about the steps that should be taken to ensure the abuse of children is reported.

The best persons to report these abusers are those who are being abused themselves. So why is it that victims of abuse never talk about it themselves, until decades later? The rational thing is for a child who has been abused to talk to his or her parents, right? So why doesn’t this happen often enough ? Why wouldn’t a child trust his or her parents enough to share this information. Maybe the child abuser isn’t the only problem in our society. Perhaps, there’s also a problem with the home.

If we create awareness and teach our children sex education, why would they hide it from us , when someone tries to violate them? I’ll tell you why.  It’s evident that a lot of kids do not trust their parents, because of the things they do, and the way they scare them. Kids should regard their parents as their best friends. But if parents are beating their kids, cursing them, or doing anything that’s psychologically abusive to them,  that destroys the trust that children should have in their parents.

As a parent or guardian, you should talk to your kids about everything including about sexual abuse.It’s okay to ask your children if they’ve ever been abused and talk about these things with them. When you do this, they will understand what sexual abuse is, and if they are approached, they’ll be equipped with the knowledge of how to escape it. If sadly, they are ever victims of child abuse, they would be able to confide in their parents or guardians who can take the right step to get the criminal to face the law. With that, parents can ensure that this never happens to their children again and that others who would have been victims of the abuser are saved.

There are other solutions to the issue of reporting  and preventing child abuse which I believe rest with the church. One thing the church should do is come up with a programme that teaches people to speak up about child abuse. Another important step  for the church to take is to tackle the rehabilitation of priests who prey on children. In my view, the rituals that are done in the name of cleansing abusive priests from their sins are mostly hypocrisy.Instead of telling abusers in confession to recite a million Hail Marys, and then let them back into the world where they would continue defiling children, and other people, the church should create a rehabilitation plan and follow up to ensure that these abusers stop what they are doing, and become reformed people for the good of themselves, and the society.

In my opinion, another issue at the heart of the problem is celibacy amongst the priesthood, which is overrated. Celibacy and abstinence from marriage should be a choice for priests. It shouldn’t be forced on them. Anyone can be married, sexually active, and still serve God in full capacity. By making celibacy and marriage a thing of choice for priests, the rate of sexual abuse from Catholic priest can be curtailed.

Confession should remain sacred but there are other steps to be taken in our homes and church to report and prevent the abuse of our children.

Photo credit:  via pixabay(license)

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About me: My name is Aïdêè Amba. I am a writer, podcaster and fashion designer. I’m a highly ambitious individual who is into a little bit of everything. I love media, fashion and advanced technology. I am an extremely creative individual with the ideology that the world can be much better. I am passionate about media and fashion. I’m a self-lover and believe in myself so much. Besides if you don’t love yourself, who will? For me, focus is major key.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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