A paedophile priest who admitted to child abuse on more than 1500 occasions but was just told to “pray more” should be a “prime example” for the Catholic Church to allow breaking the seal of confession, advocates have told The New Daily.
Father Michael McArdle made an affidavit in 2004 stating he had confessed 1500 times to molesting children to 30 different priests over a 25-year period.
After being forgiven 1500 times in face-to-face confessions with his fellow priests, the Queenslander was told merely to “go home and pray”.
“Every single priest that listened to McArdle’s confession gave him absolution and allowed him to walk out that door and sexually abuse another child.
After each confession, he said: “it was like a magic wand had been waved over me”.
McArdle was jailed for six years in 2004 after pleading guilty to indecently dealing with two girls and 14 boys, aged eight to 13, between January 1965 and June 1987.
He molested altar boys and girls in the confessional, presbytery, vestry and on church and school camps.
Former Melbourne Catholic priest Eugene Ahern, 73, a close friend and supporter of Cardinal George Pell, told The New Daily, he felt strongly “all Catholic priests” should go to jail rather than break the sacred seal.
“It’s a monstrous attack on religious practice and belief and as a Catholic I can’t accept it,” he said.
He said he had never heard a priest confessing to abuse, which he believes is no longer occurring.
“I think abuse is now thankfully a thing of the past, which is something we all want,” he said.
In the final report of the Royal Commission the commissioners stated the risk remains across religious institutions that deal with children in schools, churches and recreational settings.
They said new cases continue to come forward.