BBC:–  The Catholic Church in Australia has formally rejected a landmark inquiry’s recommendation that priests should be forced to report sexual abuse disclosed during confession.

The five-year inquiry found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse in Australian institutions. The Catholic Church had the most cases.

On Friday, Church leaders accepted most of the inquiry’s recommendations.

But their stance on confession may set up future conflict with governments.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said breaking the seal of confession was “contrary to our faith and inimical to religious liberty”.

“We are committed to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people while maintaining the seal,” it said in a statement.

The Church leaders said they would, however, explore other proposals – including asking the Vatican to relax rules on celibacy.

The royal commission inquiry, which concluded in December, heard more than 8,000 testimonies about abuse in churches, schools and sports clubs.

Its final report made more than 400 recommendations across government and other institutional sectors.

The government called the abuse a “national tragedy”, began a compensation scheme for survivors, and said it would give a national apology on 22 October.


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