Convicted paedophile priest Fr Gerald Ridsdale has told the current Royal Commission that he believes that 'a priest should go against the teachings of the church and tell police if someone confesses to a crime during confession.'
This is the same Fr Gerald Ridsdale who also said that:
- He did not confess all his sins during confession once he left the seminary.
- He told no one he was abusing children when he was ordained in 1961.
- "I didn't confess the sexual offending against children".
- He did not tell the Ballarat bishop who ordained him that he had offended while in the seminary studying to be a priest and while overseas.
- "I don't think I told, would have told anyone at all".
- "I never told anyone. It's the sort of thing I wouldn't tell anyone.
- "Looking back on it, I think that the overriding fear would have been losing priesthood."
- "I would have lost faith in myself because I was a very proud person. It just would have been devastating."
Gerald Ridsdale would not confess his sins to a priest, under the seal of the confessional, in absolute confidence, back in the day when there was also a protective culture of secrecy that shielded him from the consequences of his actions.
And yet he now thinks that the seal of the confessional should be abolished because ... because ... Why, exactly? Does he really think that this would make it easier for paedophiles to confess to people who were going to shop them immediately?
Paedophiles don’t confess, not even to police, and not even when they are practically caught red-handed. This is why it’s almost impossible to rehabilitate them. They do not want to get caught, and they do not want to admit that what they are doing is wrong. In some cases, they are unable to admit that what they are doing is wrong, because they have convinced themselves that it is normal, and it is their right to act in this way.
Abolishing the seal of the confessional will achieve nothing, except that it will stop people who are genuinely seeking spiritual help from doing so. Fr Gerald Ridsdale has also done enough damage to the Catholic Church already without his views on the seal of the confessional being taken seriously.
Ridsdale also apparently told a Catholic Church Insurances investigator in 1994 that Bishop O'Collins told him "if this thing happens again then you're off to the missions". If anyone ever gets smug with me again about the failures of celibacy among African priests, I am going to point out to them that Africa was used as a dumping ground for decades for Western priests who couldn't be celibate. One day we will have to pay for what we did to the Catholic Church in those developing countries.