Milwaukee, WI (Michael Hichborn/Lepanto Institute) — A retired Catholic priest from Milwaukee is actively attacking the Church’s seal of confession, reports the Lepanto Institute. In a detailed profile of Fr. James E. Connell, a canon lawyer and former Vice-Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the Lepanto Institute proves that Fr. Connell is campaigning for the alteration of Church law regarding the seal of confession, while encouraging legislators to impose laws that would force priests to break the seal.
In November of 2018, Fr. Connell wrote an Op-Ed for the National Catholic Reporter calling upon Pope Francis to:
“release from the seal of confession all information regarding sexual abuse of a minor or a vulnerable adult so that this information may be provided to civil and church authorities.”
In 2019, Fr. Connell sued ten states challenging “the constitutionality of the use of a clergy-penitent privilege” as they pertain to mandatory reporting laws regarding child abuse and neglect. According to the judge’s order to dismiss the lawsuit:
“Plaintiff claims that this use of the clergy-penitent privilege violates the substantive due process rights of children under the Fifth Amendment, by depriving children of a vital source of protection against abusers.”
“Just last week, USA Today published Fr. Connell’s Op-Ed encouraging voters in Delaware to support HB-74, which would repeal Delaware’s clergy-penitent privilege statute,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute. “Even though his lawsuit was dismissed, it seems oddly coincidental that most of the states he sued have since taken up his gauntlet, proposing legislation that would force priests to excommunicate themselves or be thrown in prison.”
“How long are bishops going to allow this priest to wage a war on the Seal of Confession before they do something about it?” Hichborn asked. “Good priests who wish to celebrate the Ancient Rite of the Mass, defend the Church’s teachings against sexual perversion, and advocate for the denial of Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians are being sidelined and persecuted, but Fr. Connell is allowed to directly attack the Sacrament of Confession without a word from any bishops? How is this just?”
The Lepanto Institute is calling upon faithful Catholics to contact the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to ask for the silencing and sanction of Fr. Connell.
The report on Fr. Connell’s war on the Seal of Confession can be viewed here.
Again, see update here.