For centuries the secrecy of the confessional has been sacrosanct, but the Church of England may relax the rules to allow clergy to reveal serious crimes such as child abuse.
Former Bishop of Chelmsford John Gladwin ”“ who last year led an inquiry into clerical sex abuse in the Church of England ”“ is pressing for the changes, along with members of the Church’s ”˜parliament’, the General Synod.
But any change will be fiercely resisted by traditionalists who think clergy should retain the trust of worshippers. It will also cause tensions with Roman Catholics, who believe the seal of the confessional should remain inviolable.
Bishop Gladwin’s moves follow a decision by the Anglican Church of Australia to allow its priests to report crimes they hear during confession to the police.