Sexual abuse advocate Steve Fisher has slammed the Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart’s response to the royal commission into child sexual abuse.
“They are acting as they always act when it comes to protecting victims of child sexual abuse, which is in a disgraceful manner,” he said.
“They have a long track-record of protecting their paedophiles and this is just another example of how they intend to do it.”
Mr Fisher’s comment was in response to the announcement by Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Archbishop Julian Porteous that he would not advise Tasmanian clergymen to report cases of child sexual abuse heard in confessional, despite the royal commission’s recommendations.
"There should be no protection nor privilege in relation to religious confessions,” the commission found.
The Tasmania Catholic Church said it would stand by the position of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on reporting sexual abuse.
“Archbishop Porteous wholeheartedly endorses the statement by President of the ACBC, Archbishop Denis Hart,” it said.
The statement said priests were duty-bound to ensure everything said in confessional remains confidential.
“Confession in the Catholic Church is a spiritual encounter with God through the priest. It is a fundamental part of the freedom of religion, and is recognised in the Law of Australia,” a statement from the Australian Catholics Bishop Conference read.
“Outside of this all offences against children must be reported to the authorities, and we are absolutely committed to doing so.”