As California is currently embroiled in a battle over whether to punish priests for not breaking the seal of confession in cases when child abuse is revealed, the Vatican has issued a statement reaffirming the “inviolability” of the confidentiality of confession, and saying political pressure in this regard is a breach of religious liberty.

“Every political or legislative initiative intended to ‘force’ the inviolability of the sacramental seal would constitute an unacceptable offense against the libertas Ecclesiae (freedom of the Church), which does not receive its legitimacy from individual states, but from God,” the statement issued by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, was approved by Pope Francis June 21 and published July 1.

This type of pressure “would also constitute a violation of religious freedom, legally fundamental to every other type of freedom, including the freedom of conscience of individual citizens, both penitents and confessors,” the statement read.

Piacenza’s statement comes as the U.S. Church is facing one of the most serious potential violations of religious freedom in its history in California, where Senate Bill 360 would compel priests to disclose information about child sexual abuse that they learn when they are hearing the confession of another priest or a co-worker.

The bill passed the California senate by a 30-2 vote in May and is expected to be considered by the State Assembly in September.

Full story at Crux.