Delaware House Bill 74, introduced on March 2, would abrogate the privilege between priest and penitent in a sacramental confession. It would require priests to report any instances of child abuse and neglect that are shared in a sacramental confession.
Outside the sacrament itself, priests are already required by both civil law and diocesan mandate to report any such instances of child abuse to the proper authorities. But the seal of confession is a basic tenet of the Catholic Church and a fundamental aspect of the sacrament of Reconciliation. Under Canon Law, any priest who breaks that seal of confidentiality between the penitent and he is subject to automatic and immediate excommunication.
The primary sponsor of HB 74 is Rep. Eric Morrison of Glasgow, and. The measure has two additional sponsors, Sen. Nicole Poore of Senate District 12 and House Majority Whip Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown. Co-sponsors include State Senators Kyle Evans Gay, Kyra Hoffner, Sarah McBride, and President Pro Tempore David P. Sokola; State Representatives co-sponsoring the bill include Paul S. Baumbach, Kendra Johnson, Sophie Phillips, and Cyndie Romer.
Parishioners are urged to contact their legislative representatives to register their objection to this bill. A statement from the Diocese of Wilmington regarding HB 74 can be read by clicking the icon below.