In Brief

In Brief Archbishop Julian Porteous Photo: Mercury
Priests ‘unable’ to comply with new Confession law

The leader of Tasmania’s Catholic Church has said priests in his archdiocese will not comply with a law that would require them to break the seal of Confession to report suspected child abuse. The law, passed last week, makes religious ministers mandatory reporters of child sexual abuse, and requires Tasmanians with knowledge of abuse to report the crime to police, or face prison time.

Archbishop Julian Porteous said that priests are “unable” to violate the seal of confession under any circumstances, according to Australia’s ABC News.

“I believe the Tasmanian bill will not strengthen protections for children and vulnerable people, but it will have the opposite effect – as offenders will be less likely to come forward to confess serious sins for fear of being reported,” the archbishop added.

9/11 reminds us that ‘violence begets violence’ – archbishop

“The cycle of violence” that surrounded the 9/11 terror attacks shows how destructive violence can be, said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN.

“The 9/11 attacks were preceded and followed by many horrendous acts of violence, proving that violence begets more violence, hatred begets more hatred, and revenge perpetuates the cycle of violence,” Archbishop Auza said.

“There must be a way to stop the cycle of violence, restore the rule of law and build peaceful societies,” he added. “We have institutions to govern us and implement the law. But they are never enough to stop violence, much less to build a culture of peace.”

Indian Catholics appeal for help after large mob attack

Catholics in the Archdiocese of Ranchi have appealed for help after a local Jesuit mission was brutally attacked by a large armed mob at the beginning of the month. St John Berchmans Inter College, a Jesuit school and hostel in India’s Jharkhand state, was attacked by around 500 armed Hindu extremists the college’s secretary Fr Thomas Kuzhively reported.

The attackers were armed with sticks, chains, iron bars, knives, and pistols, and beat tribal students including two who were seriously injured, he said. They seriously damaged the school’s facilities.

The mob also tried to sexually harass female students, tried to prevent the transport of injured students to a hospital, destroyed and vandalised school property, stole cash, and attacked an attached hostel for tribal students.

Court acquits doctor who euthanised dementia patient

A Netherlands court has acquitted a doctor involved in a controversial euthanasia case who had been accused of breaching the consent requirements for ending a woman’s life.

A district court in The Hague issued a decision last Wednesday. Judge Mariette Renckens said the now-retired doctor – whose name was not given – did not need a final consent for the euthanasia of a 74-year-old woman because of the severity of the patient’s dementia. The doctor instead relied upon a desire for euthanasia expressed four years earlier.

Francis explains the relic of St Peter gift to Eastern Church

In a letter to Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Pope Francis has explained the unexpected gifting of a relic of St Peter to the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church in June, a gesture which generated controversy among some Catholics.

The Pope wrote to the ecumenical patriarch saying the decision to give the relic was born out of prayer and intended as a sign of the ongoing work and prayer toward visible communion between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

“This gesture is intended to be a confirmation of the journey that our Churches have made in drawing closer to one another: a journey at times demanding and difficult, yet one accompanied by evident signs of God’s grace.”