BY OUR ROME CORRESPONDENT
A JUDICIAL LNQUIRY in Italy has ruled that police "did well and were within their rights" to bug a prison chapel confessional.
Three months ago, San Remo Prison chaplain Fr Giuseppe Stropiana reported to the Italian hierarchy that he had found a micro-recording device behind a picture of Our Lady in his confessional.
The discovery provoked a nationwide protest by prison chaplains and local bishops as well as an appeal against the practice to Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro signed by hundreds of Catholics. Italian bishops have issued a statement deploring "the grave offence against the sacrament of confession" and the inquiry judges' decision that San Remo police were right to bug the chapel.
Asked if the Italian ruling could set a precedent in this country, Mgr Peter Wilkinson, Principal Prisons' Chaplain, told the Catholic Herald: there was "no way" it could happen here. "Very few prison chaplains use confessionals, so that the authorities would find it difficult to bug one," he said.
Mgr Wilkinson went on to say: "If there was any suspicion that there was a bug then we would not use confessionals at all."