I am not the only Catholic to feel horrified that the proposed law would give our police the power to bug any sacramental confessions made to a Catholic priest. A Home Office spokeswoman has confirmed this, saying that "there are no loopholes and exemptions at the moment".
Whatever happened to freedom of religion? A Catholic priest may never reveal what is said to him under the seal of confession. A priest in Co Durham went to prison in the last century for refusing to tell a court what a suspect had said to him in confession.
Now many ordinary innocent Catholics would be denied the guaranteed confidentiality that is their right; no one would know when or where legal bugging is to take place. Catholic police officers would experience questions of conscience in these new duties.
The writer was Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, 1974-1992Reuse content