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Breaking the seal of the confessional

By Peter Bowden - posted Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Miroslav Filipović (5 June 1915 – 1946), was a Bosnian Croat Franciscan friar and Ustashe military chaplain that participated in atrocities during World War II in Yugoslavia. Convicted as a war criminal by a Yugoslav civil court, he was executed by hanging in 1946.

Wenceslas Munyeshyaka (born 30 July 1958) is a Rwandan priest working in France who was convicted of genocide by a Rwandan military court. Despite the controversy and his Rwandan conviction, he has been employed as a priest in France since 2001.

Emmanuel Rukundo is also a Rwandan Roman Catholic priest who in 2009 was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for his participation in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. In December 2016, he was released from prison.


John Wycliffe's writings in Latin influenced the philosophy and teaching of Czech reformer Jan Hus. Wycliffe attacked the privileged status of the clergy, which was central to their powerful role in England. He also attacked the luxury and pomp of local parishes and their ceremonies.

Jan Hus, whose execution in 1415 sparked a revolt and led to the Hussite Wars. He was burned at the stake for heresy against the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. There are many like him. The wars were papal crusades against the Hussites.

Only recently the Vatican convicted an ex-diplomat of child pornography distribution

That same Catholic Answers website lists five evils considered as major by the Catholic Church They are 1. Abortion; 2. Euthanasia; 3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research; 4. Human Cloning; 5. Homosexual "Marriage".

Most Australians would not consider any of these evils and have already so stated on most of them. Gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research , euthanasia .They would not care if they were confessed as sins in a confessional. But they do believe that the sexual abuse of children is wrong. And that it should be stopped.

To conclude: to give credence to Catholic doctrine on many issues, including the sanctity of the confessional, will not be in the public interest .The NSW government needs to 'desanctify' the confessional.

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About the Author

Peter Bowden is an author, researcher and ethicist. He was formerly Coordinator of the MBA Program at Monash University and Professor of Administrative Studies at Manchester University. He is currently a member of the Australian Business Ethics Network , working on business, institutional, and personal ethics.

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