BALLARAT priest Father Adrian McInerney said he would break the confessional seal to report a crime.
Father McInerney told the royal commission he had changed his mind over the past few years because of the magnitude of Ballarat’s clergy sex abuse tragedy.
When asked if he had ever heard confessions of sexual aggression, he said he had heard about adultery but never confessions of abuse.
Senior counsel assisting the royal commission Gail Furness asked Father McInerney if he did hear such a confession, would he feel obliged to keep it to himself?
“If it’s a crime, it’s a crime and has to be reported,” Father McInerney said.
“I know that’s not the teaching of the church, but the conclusion I’ve come to is that if someone confesses to a crime, then I can’t forgive that unless they’re able to go and report the crime.”
Father McInerney said he had been prompted to change his mind because “it’s become a big question in the public forum really”.
When asked if he believed the church had addressed the issue adequately by introducing new protocols to protect children, Father McInerney said: “I don’t think we’ve ever gone far enough.”