Saint Mateo Correa Magallanes was a priest and a Knight of Columbus. During the persecution of the Church in Mexico in 1927, he had a choice to make.
He was in the jails hearing confessions from prisoners rounded up by the government. Now, a general was pressing a gun to his head, threatening to kill him if he did not disclose what prisoners had told him in confession.
Mateo said, “You can do that, but just know that a priest must keep the seal of confession. I am willing to die.” Shortly after that, he was taken to the outskirts of town and killed.
Confession is sacred — to every priest and every Catholic.
That is why I am greatly disturbed by a bill that is moving through the California legislature. Senate Bill 360 would order priests to disclose information they might hear in confession concerning the sexual abuse of minors.
SB 360’s sponsor makes a sweeping claim that “the clergy-penitent privilege has been abused on a large scale, resulting in the unreported and systemic abuse of thousands of children across multiple denominations and faiths.”
That is simply not true. Hearings on the bill have not presented a single case — in California or anywhere else — where this kind of crime could have been prevented if a priest had disclosed information he had heard in confession. Why is no one asking the bill’s sponsor to provide evidence for his accusations against the Church?
The fact is, child sexual abuse is not a sin that people confess to priests in the confessional. Those who counsel such predators tell us that sadly, many of them are secretive and manipulative and cannot comprehend the grave evil of their actions.
SB 360 should be voted down. And we should continue working together to seek effective ways to fight this scourge of child sexual abuse in our society.
The California Catholic Conference is urging Catholics to oppose SB 360 which would revoke the “Seal of Confession.” Tell your State Senator to vote “NO”on SB 360; click here. Do it today, a crucial vote in the State Senate is expected by the end of May.
Full story at Angelus News.