Parishioners lead the way in defending confessional seal

Willetton parishioners and priests with Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB and Bishop Don Sproxton (Ron Tan/eRecord)

A group of parishioners has been among the first to answer the invitation from Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB to make a submission to a parliamentary inquiry on the importance of the seal of the confessional. Source: The eRecord.

Accompanied by Parish Priest Father Thai Vu and Assistant Parish Priest Fr Anthony Vu, the group of Willetton parishioners met with Archbishop Costelloe and Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton last week to share their ongoing efforts to do their part in addressing the pressing issue arising from the Community and Family Services Amendment Bill 2019.

Archbishop Costelloe wrote an open letter to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese to advise that on June 25, the WA Legislative Council referred the Bill to a Committee of Inquiry. The Archbishop invited individuals and organisations to make submissions to the committee before the closing date of July 24.

Fr Thai began by expressing his admiration of the parishioners for not only taking the approach of engaging at a parish level, but for further tackling the issue on an external parish level.

“Fr Anthony and I support their efforts for this submission, but the parishioners were really the front-runners in this effort as they tirelessly approached many ministers on this matter, and until today, they continue to create awareness on the importance of protecting the seal of confession,” he said.

Willetton Parishioners Edman Anthony, Howard Ong and Daryl Blakemore said it was the Archbishop’s open letter followed by a series of prayer sessions, research and the desire to defend what he regarded as "a form of persecution of faith", that led them to take action.

“Realising the importance of speaking up as laity, and not being able to turn a blind eye to an outcome that could have a huge impact on our faith, the clergy and Church as a whole, the group began by drafting a synopsis of the issue and circulating it to our parish community to spread awareness,” Mr Anthony said.

“We then wrote to many local ministers expressing our stance and (after a series of events) with four days left for our submission, we went all out to get the congregation to sign the petition – gaining 700 signatures from Willetton parish and another 400 signatures from neighbouring parishes.”

The group continues to spread awareness on the importance of making individual submissions, delivering talks in parishes across the Archdiocese.


Willetton parishioners stand with Perth Catholics in defending the seal of confession (By Amanda Murthy, The eRecord)

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