I enjoy reading the read here, but I’ve never actually posted anything. However, I have a question which I’m hoping some people might be able to answer. This evening, after Mass, our priest stayed behind to hear confessions. These were not heard in a box, but at a kneeler near the sanctuary rails. There were a few people still saying private prayers in the church, when one penitent went to confess. It quickly became apparent that he could be heard, even by people such as myself sitting at the back of the church. I quickly took myself out of the main body of the building to avoid hearing any of what he was confessing. Anyway, afterwards I took the opportunity to speak to the priest, and told him that I–and persumably others–could hear what his first penitent was saying, and so perhaps he should hear confessions elsewhere. However,when I was saying this to the priest, I told him that I hear the penitent beginning his confession with ‘I confess to almighty to God…’ and at that point took myself off (those are the words printed on the confessional card for penitents to use). Now, I’m worried, did saying I heard those six words break the seal? Does the seal of confession apply to word ever word in confession (including the standard prayers which we all know a penitent says, as they are obligatory), or simply to the substance of sins confessed?
A somewhat scrupulous question, perhaps, but issues reading the seal of confession are issues to be scrupulous about!