The Irish justice minister has said that forthcoming child protection measures, including mandatory reporting will "apply regardless of any internal rules of any religious grouping".
Alan Shatter was responding to comments made by Cardinal Sean Brady who defended the seal of confession.
Cardinal Brady stressed it was a "sacred and treasured" rite.
A priest could be convicted of a criminal offence if they were told of a sexual abuse case and failed to report it to the civil authorities.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Mr Shatter said: “It is the failure in the past to make such reports that has led sexual predators into believing that they have impunity and facilitated paedophiles preying on children and destroying their lives.”
Anyone who fails to declare information about the abuse of a child could face a prison term of five years.
The Irish Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that priests who are given admissions of child abuse during the sacrament of confession will not be exempt from new rules on mandatory reporting.
During his homily to worshippers at Knock shrine in County Mayo, on Sunday, the archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland said: “Freedom to participate in worship and to enjoy the long-established rites of the church is so fundamental that any intrusion upon it is a challenge to the very basis of a free society” he said.
How much more do we need to do before these bishops understand that no, it is NOT alright to protect pederasts?