Chills ran down the spines of Catholics on January 12 when North Dakota lawmakers announced their intention to amend the state’s Century Code relating to mandatory reporting. Under the current law, “a member of the clergy…is not required to report [knowledge or suspicion of child abuse] if the knowledge or suspicion is derived from information received in the capacity of a spiritual advisor,” a category that includes sacramental confession. But SB 2180 would delete this exception, making it a failure to report suspected abuse or neglect, even if learned in the confessional, punishable by up to thirty days in prison and/or a fine of $1500.
Abstract discussions about religious liberty abruptly take on an existential immediacy with news like this. Cancel culture is right on the doorstep of the Catholic Church, and woke America seems to be breathing down our throats. It is a moment redolent of Henry II’s drunken lament in 1170 when he moaned to his barons, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” North Dakota’s proposed revocation of the ancient privilege of the seal of the confessional is a second lament, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome Church?”
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TAKE ACTION: Contact sponsors of SB 2180 and demand they retract this bill from consideration.
|Senator Judy Lee (Republican)||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Senator Kathy Hogan (Democrat)||email@example.com|
|Senator Curt Kreun (Republican)||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Representative Mike Brandenburg (Republican)||email@example.com|
|Representative Mary Schneider (Democrat)||firstname.lastname@example.org|