Europe    INVESTIGATION OF BISHOP BOUND BY CONFESSIONAL SEAL
A French magistrate has challenged the seal of the confessional by investigating a bishop for failing to advise police that a priest in his is diocese had molested children.
    Archbishop Louis Marie Bille of Lyons, president of the French bishops' conference, stood behind Bishop Pican, saying the prelate was bound by the seal of the confessional. "I am confident that if Monsignor Pican kept quiet about these things, then he would have done so because he believed that his conscience demanded that he was bound to keep a secret," he told French Christian Radio.
    Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux was being investigated in connection with ongoing enquiries into Fr René Bisset, who has been accused of the rape of several boys between 1985 and 1996. Bisset has admitted to charges of sexual abuse and is due to stand trial later this year.
    Lawyers for the families of the boys believe Bishop Pican knew about Father Bisset's actions in 1996, two years before the priest was finally arrested.
   
   
CWN 12:22am 4/2/00

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