Priest: I will protect children, but not break seal of confession

Priest at confession box. Picture: Getty

A Catholic priest has said he would do anything to protect a child, but that he would not break the seal of confession.

Father Gearoid O'Donnchu, a retired parish priest, was speaking in light of yesterday's publication of the Children First Bill.

The new law makes it mandatory for professionals, including clergy, to report situations where they believe children are at risk.

Father O'Donnchu said he was not sure whether his stance would break the law, but that if it did, he would still be prepared to observe the confessional seal.

"If somebody comes to confession (it is) with the understanding that what they say is entirely privileged.

"The seal of confession takes precedence over everything, even my own safety. If somebody came and told me they had poisoned the wine I was going to use for Mass, I would still use it."

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