The dioceses of California have asked the faithful to intervene with members of the state legislature to convince them to vote against a bill that endangers the secrecy of sacramental confession.
By leveraging homilies from the pulpits, increased presence on social media, pastoral letters read at the end of Masses, the objective of California's Catholic clergy is to mobilize the faithful to demand that members of the state legislature respect the sacred and inviolable nature of the sacrament of confession.
The bill entitled SB 360—which was introduced in February 2019, and passed in the California state senate on May 23 by 30 votes to 2—is intended to compel priests to divulge any information concerning abuses committed against minors, even within the context of sins heard in confession—if it’s about a cleric or a parish employee.
The law will be presented sometime in September 2019 to the California House of Representatives. Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles stated in a letter published on June 10, 2019, and read at the end of all Sunday Masses in the archdiocese, “Our lawmakers have good intentions. They want to prevent child abuse. But there is no evidence that this legislation will do that. Instead, it threatens a practice that is essential to our faith and religious identity.”
The prelate concluded, “We need your help to protect this sacrament of the Church and to keep confession sacred.”