Catholic priests thinking about keeping quiet on suspected sexual abuse will no longer be able to hide behind the Vatican’s secrecy rules.
In Australia, as in other countries, the Catholic Church has been accused of protecting pedophile priests and covering up the sexual abuse of children.
Last month, attorneys-general agreed to standardise laws making it mandatory for priests to report child abuse revealed to them during confession.
But that didn’t ensure church figures were not going to use a “confessional privilege” defence – until now.
Priests have been given the green light to share documents and information against a third party in criminal or civil proceedings, as well as update victims on their cases.
Pope Francis has vowed zero tolerance for offenders, but victims of abuse want him to do more and make bishops who allegedly covered up the abuse accountable.