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Strictlyinkblot

Breaking The Seal Of Confession

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Strictlyinkblot
A few months ago the Irish Prime Minister made a speech condemning the Catholic church. Within that speech he insisted that any priest who learnt of a child being abused under the seal of confession had to break that seal.

The government is now trying to put this into law.

[url="http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0613/1224317819220.html"]http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0613/1224317819220.html[/url]

[url="http://www.independent.ie/national-news/church-wont-back-down-on-confessional-secrecy-expert-2822422.html"]http://www.independent.ie/national-news/church-wont-back-down-on-confessional-secrecy-expert-2822422.html[/url]

[url="http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=11031"]http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=11031[/url]

[url="http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/"]http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/[/url]

Apart from the emotional aspects of this issue, how are they going to enforce this? If a traditional confessional is used then the priest won't be able to see the face of the person confessing. Also, as one pilgrim to the Knock shrine put it, 'Am I now going to have to give my full name, address and telephone number before having my confession heard? Is the priest going to sit there with a mobile phone with the police on speed dial? Will he ask waiting penitents to restrain the person in question?'

And, the one blinkingly obvious question, who the heck is going to confess to something if s/he knows the priest is going to immediately report them to the police?

Perhaps we will now see confessionals being bugged, or reporters taking part in sting operations to see if the priest will comply with the legislation.

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PhuturePriest
This law is not very well thought out for obvious drawbacks. I know if I committed this sin the last thing I would do is confess it if I knew I would be thrown in jail. I would try to finance a trip somewhere else for sure, but I would not go locally.

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eagle_eye222001
[quote name='Strictlyinkblot' timestamp='1339798493' post='2445200']
... how are they going to enforce this? If a traditional confessional is used then the priest won't be able to see the face of the person confessing.[/quote]

Bugs in the confessions. :ninja: . Of course that may mean some will have to get a Darth Vader voice changer for confession each time. :lol4:


[quote]Also, as one pilgrim to the Knock shrine put it, 'Am I now going to have to give my full name, address and telephone number before having my confession heard? Is the priest going to sit there with a mobile phone with the police on speed dial? Will he ask waiting penitents to restrain the person in question?'

And, the one blinkingly obvious question, who the heck is going to confess to something if s/he knows the priest is going to immediately report them to the police?

Perhaps we will now see confessionals being bugged, or reporters taking part in sting operations to see if the priest will comply with the legislation.
[/quote]

Oh you did say bugged :) ....Dang it. Thought I was original for a second. That last sentence scares me. Because in reality, nothing is going to happen.....but if a news media really wants to launch some mini-nukes at the church.......they may have just been given the ammo for it.

Oh well. If I recall correctly.....I wanna say there was this guy......who was accused of stuff with false testimony.......bout 2k years ago.......died for beliefs.......you know.....that guy on the cross !


:crusader2:

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beatitude
The first question that immediately came to my mind is: has there been a single incident of a child abuser confessing ongoing abuse to a priest? Is there any logical reason for the Irish prime minister to try and pass such a law, or is he just trying to appease public anger with a token gesture that has limited practical weight?

It's not inconceivable, of course, but I have a hard time imagining that any abuser would roll up to the confessional and announce what he was doing. Total secrecy is generally their modus operandi. Telling someone (even if it is a priest in confession) automatically makes them vulnerable.

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Groo the Wanderer
Viva Christo Rey!

This has been made law many times in history and every time it has failed. There are dozens of priests who have willing given up their lives rather than break the seal of the confessional.

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Norseman82
[quote name='Strictlyinkblot' timestamp='1339798493' post='2445200']
Perhaps we will now see confessionals being bugged, or reporters taking part in sting operations to see if the priest will comply with the legislation.
[/quote]

That actually did happen in Oregon in the mid-1990s:

[url="http://articles.nydailynews.com/1996-05-21/news/18007955_1_conan-wayne-hale-harcleroad-bugged"]http://articles.nydailynews.com/1996-05-21/news/18007955_1_conan-wayne-hale-harcleroad-bugged[/url]

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EmilyAnn
Do they not realise that a priest [i]can't[/i] break the Seal of Confession? They can make it law but priests are duty-bound to take legal punishment rather than break the Seal.

The thought of confessionals being bugged makes my skin crawl. Is nothing sacred anymore?

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Basilisa Marie
But...aren't priests supposed to withhold absolution if a person confesses something terrible like that, but hasn't turned him or her self into the authorities?

It sounds like people have this idea that the Church knows about all the people who abuse kids in their country, because of all the cover-up stories in their country. Like they're trying to nab all the priests who abuse kids, and they think that if another priest or bishop finds out about a priest doing those things they'd just move the guy around (like they've done in the past), and that the most likely place a priest or bishop would find out is in the confessional. I don't know, either way this seems to be something aimed at attacking priests, and it's completely unenforceable.

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Brother Adam
[quote name='Basilisa Marie' timestamp='1339946956' post='2445508']
But...aren't priests supposed to withhold absolution if a person confesses something terrible like that, but hasn't turned him or her self into the authorities?

It sounds like people have this idea that the Church knows about all the people who abuse kids in their country, because of all the cover-up stories in their country. Like they're trying to nab all the priests who abuse kids, and they think that if another priest or bishop finds out about a priest doing those things they'd just move the guy around (like they've done in the past), and that the most likely place a priest or bishop would find out is in the confessional. I don't know, either way this seems to be something aimed at attacking priests, and it's completely unenforceable.
[/quote]

A priest cannot compel a penitent to turn himself into a civil authority as a condition for absolution. He can offer to go with the penitent if the penitent so chooses to make himself known to the priest after confession if the penitent wishes to turn himself in.

Priests must ignore civil laws trying to force them to break the seal of confession. Even if they have to accept prison or death, they cannot break the seal. The code of canon law provides that a priest breaking the seal incurs latae sententiae excommunication (immediate by the very nature of the sin) which can only be lifted by the Vatican.

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BG45
[quote name='eagle_eye222001' timestamp='1339800914' post='2445216']
Bugs in the confessions. :ninja: .

[/quote]

[url="http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-6-number-4/state-invades-confessional"]Oregon already did it.[/url]

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Basilisa Marie
[quote name='Brother Adam' timestamp='1339977258' post='2445610']
A priest cannot compel a penitent to turn himself into a civil authority as a condition for absolution. He can offer to go with the penitent if the penitent so chooses to make himself known to the priest after confession if the penitent wishes to turn himself in.
[/quote]

Wait, so, theoretically, I can murder my sister, confess it to my priest, get absolution because I'm sorry but not sorry enough turn myself in to the civil authorities? I can get away with the perfect crime AND be right with God? I'm confused.

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