Father Ian McGinnity, former chairman of the National Council of Priests, said priests would be placed in a ''terrible position'' by such a change.
''Where do you draw the line on that?'' he
said, raising the possibility of people admitting other crimes, such as murder or fraud.
''That's not to lessen the gravity of child abuse ... but it's just there's so many other areas of wrongdoing in the world,'' he
said. ''It's a bit of a minefield.''
also questioned whether people would admit to child abuse during confession.