Bishop Kevin Vann has declared Sunday, June 23 as “360 Sunday” in the Diocese of Orange. Bishop Vann is urging all Catholics to make their voices heard and let Sacramento legislators know that they oppose Senate Bill 360, which mandates that clergy report to civil authorities the identities of certain penitents who in the sacrament of penance confess that they have sexually abused a minor.
State law currently exempts clergy from the mandate to report sexual abuse of a minor when that information is learned in the sacrament of penance. Clergy and other mandated reporters who learn of such abuse outside of the rite of penance are required to report the abuse to civil officials. If SB 360 were to pass, Catholic priests would be faced with either violating state law or breaking the seal of confession, a very serious crime that would result in their automatic excommunication. Numerous priests have gone on record stating that they will protect the seal of confession at any cost.
The bill has passed in the State Senate and now moves to the Assembly. It is a violation of religious freedom, going against the First Amendment.
Bishop Vann asks all Catholics to visit www.rcbo.org/360Sunday to learn more about the proposed legislation and then to sign an online petition which will automatically be routed to your Assembly representative.