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Quotes and news - September 9, 2018

Australian bishops defend seal of confession

Almost all recommendations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia were accepted by the Catholic bishops and religious orders. The exception was their refusal to accept recommendations that would break the seal of confession.

“We are committed to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people while maintaining the seal. We do not see safeguarding and the seal as mutually exclusive,” the bishops said while stressing that the seal of confession is inviolable for the priest confessor.

The bishops said that mandatory reporting of confessions would not help children, as perpetrators would then be less likely to confess, thus losing an opportunity to encourage a perpetrator to self-report to civil authorities or victims to seek safety. It would also be a violation of freedom of religious belief and worship.

The right for a just wage

Bishop Frank Dewane, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said: “Every worker has a right to a just wage according to the criterion of justice, which St John XXIII described as wages that ‘give the worker and his family a standard of living in keeping with the dignity of the human person’.

“St John Paul II elaborated on the systematic implications of just wages, describing them as ‘the concrete means of verifying the justice of the whole socioeconomic system’. However, when a society fails in the task of ensuring workers are paid justly, questions arise as to the underlying assumptions of that system.

“A society that is willing to exclude its most vulnerable members, Pope Francis suggests in Evangelii Gaudium, is one where the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root.”

‘Care for water is an urgent imperative’

On the occasion of the fourth annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis’ message focused on water as a precious resource and described access to it as a human right.

The Pope underlined that “access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights”. Pope Francis pointed out the problem faced by many people who do not have access to water or where this access is very difficult.

He said that “care for water sources and water basins is an urgent imperative”.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)

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