February 23, 2006

Confessions of child abuse to remain private in N.H.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Portsmouth Herald

By Adam Leech
aleech@seacoastonline.com

PORTSMOUTH - The House on Wednesday effectively killed a bill that could have required priests and other religious leaders to report suspicions of child abuse even when revealed in confession.

The House voted to send the proposal to interim study, a maneuver that means the proposal cannot surface before next year.

"The publicity surrounding this bill has totally obscured the intent and key issues involved," said Concord Rep. Mary Stuart Gile, who sponsored the bill.

The bill would likely have been challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the Rev. Edward Kelley, of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Portsmouth.

"Thereís a fundamental dichotomy between church and state," said Kelley. "Itís always been the hallmark of clergy that those things told to us under the sacrament of confession are unviolable."

Posted by kshaw at February 23, 2006 07:42 AM