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  #1  
Old May 1, '12, 8:37 pm
fakename fakename is offline
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Default child porn and sins that need legal reparation

I assume that priests don't ask people involved in child porn to turn themselves in as it were, (the same applies to a few other sins that seem to be injustices) and yet they did an injustice to the children (and perhaps the state) so shouldn't they be forced (as penance) to make some sort of restitution to them?
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  #2  
Old May 1, '12, 9:53 pm
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

The priest may give a conditional absolution which is contingent upon some action by the penitent other than the penance. In this instance, to destroy the pornography and turn him or herself in to authorities.
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Old May 1, '12, 9:56 pm
fbl9 fbl9 is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

Quote:
Originally Posted by fakename View Post
I assume that priests don't ask people involved in child porn to turn themselves in as it were, (the same applies to a few other sins that seem to be injustices) and yet they did an injustice to the children (and perhaps the state) so shouldn't they be forced (as penance) to make some sort of restitution to them?
I have wondered the same thing as well. I think that to impose such a penance, would be out of the bounds of the purpose of penance.
To turn one's self in should be done of the person's own conscience.
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  #4  
Old May 1, '12, 10:07 pm
GEddie GEddie is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

Penance can never require that the seal of confession be broken, ie, bringing the material of the confession to light.

Punishing wrongdoing is not the purpose of confession; restoring a state of grace is.

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  #5  
Old May 1, '12, 10:14 pm
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LittleSoldier LittleSoldier is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

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Originally Posted by losh14 View Post
The priest may give a conditional absolution which is contingent upon some action by the penitent other than the penance. In this instance, to destroy the pornography and turn him or herself in to authorities.
I don't think that's right. Would you please cite Church teaching to back up your assertion?
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Old May 1, '12, 10:23 pm
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LilyM LilyM is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

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Originally Posted by losh14 View Post
The priest may give a conditional absolution which is contingent upon some action by the penitent other than the penance. In this instance, to destroy the pornography and turn him or herself in to authorities.
What purpose to have a seal of confession, whereby a priest cannot pick up the phone to police to report a penitent's crimes, if he can achieve the same end by forcing the penitent to turn themselves in?

The seal is there for a reason, and that reason means that a priest can no more make a penitent turn themselves in than himself turn the penitent in.

And there is no such thing as conditional absolution any more than conditional marriage - one is either absolved or not.

What MAY happen is that a priest may (potentially) prudentially judge that a penitent is not sufficiently sorry for their sins - and the fact they have not turned themselves in may form the basis of that judgement, I suppose. And then inform the penitent that he cannot absolve them and why.
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Old May 2, '12, 2:14 am
AHapka AHapka is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

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Originally Posted by fakename View Post
yet they did an injustice to the children (and perhaps the state) so shouldn't they be forced (as penance) to make some sort of restitution to them?
Every sin is an injustice against another person and/or God. The penance in and of itself is spiritual restitution.

The Cannon is clear:
Can. 983 1. The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.
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Old May 2, '12, 2:53 am
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

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Originally Posted by losh14 View Post
The priest may give a conditional absolution which is contingent upon some action by the penitent other than the penance. In this instance, to destroy the pornography and turn him or herself in to authorities.
Sorry but that is wrong. Absolution is never conditional. You are either not absolved or you are unconditionally absolved and given a penance.
There is no such thing as a conditional absolution.
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  #9  
Old May 2, '12, 6:18 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

Quote:
Originally Posted by fakename View Post
I assume that priests don't ask people involved in child porn to turn themselves in as it were, (the same applies to a few other sins that seem to be injustices) and yet they did an injustice to the children (and perhaps the state) so shouldn't they be forced (as penance) to make some sort of restitution to them?
No. This is absolutley forbidden.
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  #10  
Old May 2, '12, 8:00 am
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LittleSoldier LittleSoldier is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

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Originally Posted by LilyM View Post
What purpose to have a seal of confession, whereby a priest cannot pick up the phone to police to report a penitent's crimes, if he can achieve the same end by forcing the penitent to turn themselves in?

The seal is there for a reason, and that reason means that a priest can no more make a penitent turn themselves in than himself turn the penitent in.

And there is no such thing as conditional absolution any more than conditional marriage - one is either absolved or not.

What MAY happen is that a priest may (potentially) prudentially judge that a penitent is not sufficiently sorry for their sins - and the fact they have not turned themselves in may form the basis of that judgement, I suppose. And then inform the penitent that he cannot absolve them and why.
I googled it and all I could find was something on NewAdvent which was, as usual, confusing. But from what I have been told a priest must go to his death before breaking the seal of Confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is there to bring a person back to God, to absolve the sins of one who is repentant, and to provide grace which gives the penitent strength to avoid the sin and all near occasions of sin - not to provide information to the police. Even if a person confesses murder. Even if further crimes might be stopped by requiring the penitent to turn himself in to the police or calling the police himself, even anonymously.

I think you're right in what you wrote in your last paragraph. If a person is not sorry for his sins he can't be absolved.
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  #11  
Old May 2, '12, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

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Originally Posted by LittleSoldier View Post
I googled it and all I could find was something on NewAdvent which was, as usual, confusing. But from what I have been told a priest must go to his death before breaking the seal of Confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is there to bring a person back to God, to absolve the sins of one who is repentant, and to provide grace which gives the penitent strength to avoid the sin and all near occasions of sin - not to provide information to the police. Even if a person confesses murder. Even if further crimes might be stopped by requiring the penitent to turn himself in to the police or calling the police himself, even anonymously.

I think you're right in what you wrote in your last paragraph. If a person is not sorry for his sins he can't be absolved.
True - but the mere failure to turn oneself in to authorities doesn't automatically mean teh person is not sorry. It's more complicated than that.

They may have a spouse and ailing parents at home and be the sole breadwinner and cared of the family - do the others deserve to suffer for the mistake of one? Note that the abuser has no children - in such a case they would need to be kept safe - but adult dependants.
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  #12  
Old May 2, '12, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

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Originally Posted by LilyM View Post
True - but the mere failure to turn oneself in to authorities doesn't automatically mean teh person is not sorry. It's more complicated than that.

They may have a spouse and ailing parents at home and be the sole breadwinner and cared of the family - do the others deserve to suffer for the mistake of one? Note that the abuser has no children - in such a case they would need to be kept safe - but adult dependants.
AAUUGGHH!! I just responded and was ready to hit "Submit Reply" and my post was deleted. I HATE THAT!!

Sorry. OK. I agree with you. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I went through an experience not that long ago when I was pressured by a so-called friend to go against my conscience and do something uh, not within the confines of the law.

She pressured me and pushed me and argued with me and finally I caved. I felt horrible when I did it and I thought the priest was going to tell me that in order to be absolved of the sin I would have to turn myself in.

In a way I wanted to turn myself in, anyway. What I didn't know was the effect it would have on my family. It turned out that my family would have suffered immensely. I won't go into detail but it would have been awful.

The same person who had successfully pressured me tried again a few days later. This time I did not cave.

But I was still afraid that the priest was going to tell me that I would have to turn myself in to be absolved of the sin. It wasn't true. He could not turn me in or tell me to turn myself in. I was very, very sorry for what I had done and it was obvious. I went to Confession and I received absolution and grace (and the grace has given me strength to help me avoid committing that and any other sin again and to avoid the near occasion of sin).

The seal of Confession was not broken. The priest would have to forfeit his life before breaking that seal - even for something like what I did. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is not meant to be a means for tip-offs to the police or to force people to turn themselves in. If a person is sorry a person is sorry. The Sacrament is there to reconcile the penitent with God. And that is what it did.

It was a lot more complicated than I had thought before I went through my experience. Sin is so pervasive; it drags people in and adds to the evil in the world. I think it's always complicated.

My first post was better but it's gone so I'm going to post this one before I lose it, too.
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  #13  
Old May 2, '12, 5:47 pm
underacloud underacloud is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

A priest may not "force" a penitant to turn themselves in as such, but may determine that they are not truly sorry for their sins if they have not done so, and so withhold absolution.

While in many cases there is nothing truly served by the sinner admitting to criminal offenses, there are cases where it may be very relevant. Say you committed a murder and another person was convicted of your crime. If you were truly sorry for your sin, no matter how hard it may be, you would surely admit to the crime so that an innocent person was not suffering due to your sin. Even if there is no innocent peron in jail, perhaps for the sake of the victims family you need to admit to it, to ease as much as possible the ongoing consequences of your actions.

If you raped a person, it may be considered a fundamental aspect of contrition for your sin that you admit to the crime and receive your just punishment, so that the victim may feel justice has been done. To not admit to the crime may perpetuate the evil that you have committed on your victim.

There are cases, as above, where taking responsibility for the sin is a fundamental component of contrition, and thus a priest will be entitled to withhold absolution where the sinner refuses to take on that responsibility.

In the case of child porn, I'm not sure that there is an immediate need for a person to turn themselves in, but certainly they would need to ensure that any materials are destroyed. Hypothetically, a priest may also determine that if someone involved in child porn knew of an ongoing operation and did not act to inform police of it (even at the risk of their own criminality becoming know), then they were not truly sorry.
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Old May 3, '12, 3:52 am
AHapka AHapka is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

Quote:
Originally Posted by underacloud View Post
In the case of child porn, I'm not sure that there is an immediate need for a person to turn themselves in, but certainly they would need to ensure that any materials are destroyed. Hypothetically, a priest may also determine that if someone involved in child porn knew of an ongoing operation and did not act to inform police of it (even at the risk of their own criminality becoming know), then they were not truly sorry.

This also raises another side point. There's a big difference between who knew the people actually making the porn (or making it themselves) as compared to someone who downloaded it from some random website that they don't even remember anymore. There are certainly factors here.
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  #15  
Old May 22, '12, 12:25 pm
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Re: child porn and sins that need legal reparation

Following my answer (and the comments - glad we have some good orthodox folk here) I've done some research.

The priest may suggest strongly that the penitent inform authorities, and should insist that the penitent cease in the sin. Whether absolution is truly withheld if the pentitent does not cease in the sin, or if absolution is simply not granted because true contrition isn't shown, that's an area known only to the sinner and the Lord. But you are correct:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyM View Post
The seal is there for a reason, and that reason means that a priest can no more make a penitent turn themselves in than himself turn the penitent in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by underacloud View Post
A priest may not "force" a penitant to turn themselves in as such, but may determine that they are not truly sorry for their sins if they have not done so, and so withhold absolution.
What gets me is here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by underacloud View Post
There are cases, as above, where taking responsibility for the sin is a fundamental component of contrition, and thus a priest will be entitled to withhold absolution where the sinner refuses to take on that responsibility.
I can think of enough cases that it wouldn't necessarily be splitting hairs. Adultery that is confessed but ending the affair would mean the illicit partner tells the penitent's spouse. Confessing a crime to police so that an innocent person is not put to punishment (since it is a sin to withhold such testimony). Confessing to kidnapping while still imprisoning the victim. The seal of the confessional certainly binds the priest, but not the penitent, and while the priest cannot demand the penitent reveal the contents of the confession, if the penitent can in any way continue to benefit from the wrongdoing then true contrition is not present. So perhaps this isn't conditional absolution so much as latent non-absolution. In other words, if you confess meaningless words convincingly without intent to turn away, the priest acts validly though absolution is barred by the Spirit for the heart cannot receive it.

I suppose then that if, for some reason, the penitent is asked to cease in the sin but cannot do so without revealing the contents of the confession, that presents either the opportunity for creativity, or truly illustrates how much sin ensnares and enslaves one, and that truly avoiding sin can be as painful as cutting off one's own arm or leg.

And you two:

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyM View Post
And there is no such thing as conditional absolution any more than conditional marriage - one is either absolved or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thistle View Post
Sorry but that is wrong. Absolution is never conditional. You are either not absolved or you are unconditionally absolved and given a penance.
There is no such thing as a conditional absolution.
Appear to be correct - there is a term of conditional absolution but it appears to pertain to only the priest's side of the confessional, in that the priest grants absolution assuming certain conditions (baptism, penitent is speaking honestly, penitent's stated intent to avoid sin reflects the interior intent, etc) that are necessary for the dignity of the Sacrament.

[/QUOTE=I FORGOT YOUR NAME!; 9248803]
In the case of child porn, I'm not sure that there is an immediate need for a person to turn themselves in, but certainly they would need to ensure that any materials are destroyed.[/quote]

When I had confessed pornography (the legal kind, but still disgusting) the priest asked me how I was going to destroy it. If what causes you to sin remains in your life then the confession and absolution is really only temporary, depraved beings weakened by sin that we are.

[/QUOTE=I FORGOT YOUR NAME!; 9248803]
Hypothetically, a priest may also determine that if someone involved in child porn knew of an ongoing operation and did not act to inform police of it (even at the risk of their own criminality becoming know), then they were not truly sorry.[/quote]

I'd almost want to argue that this falls under the umbrella of future sins, if not also of incomplete contrition.
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