Breaking the Seal of Confession: Australia


Because not all acts are equal.


I agree. But how we can say sad violated a child is worst than kill him? Or a planned terrorism that may kill many people.


In theory I would have no problem with reporting terrorist acts - especially planned terrorist acts. But a small step is better than no steps at all.


ok, thanks you. you are for the break of the seal of Confession and against religious liberties.

the fact that you are not a Catholic make you perhaps less sensible to this topic.
I have notthing to add. Goodbye, sir.


If such a law were passed, pastors should post a prominent warning sign in every confessional or reconciliation room: “Warning: Anything you say here can and will be held against you in a court of law.” Priests should give a similar warning before every conversation or counseling session.


You are mistaken. I am very much for the freedom of religion, but just like other freedoms, it is not absolute. The freedom of speech does not extend to shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. The freedom of religion is not extended to some Indian tribes, whose religious practices used to include the consumption of psilocin - and that practice does not hurt anyone else. To allow psychopaths go freely in the name of freedom of religion is a bad idea. If some people would wish to follow the ancient Aztec religious practices of human sacrifice that would not be allowed either, would it?


Question from a non-Catholic:

Let’s say I steal $1,000 worth of beer and Oreo cookies (both of which I gave up for Lent by the way) from the Anheuser Busch and Nabisco respectively. After consuming all of the beer and Oreos (see the pattern here?), I am stricken with guilt and go to my parish priest and confess (both for theft and gluttony).

As part of my penance, could/would my priest require that I go and confess to the civil authorities?


A priest must determine, to the best of his ability, if you are truly repenting before he can absolve you from your sins. It is possible, I suppose, he could require you to confess a crime in order to show that you are truly repenting of a sin, before absolving you. But not as a penance for your sin. Now, if you chose not to confess, he can withhold absolution, but he is still bound by the confessional seal.


I think he would say that the same amount the beer and cookies were worth, should be donated to the poor. :rofl: I know I would if I were a priest.

The priest can’t tell you to say your sins to a third person but he could encourage you to do what is right. It is likely that he would say something like “My name is NN and I am a priest at parish Great saint. You can ask the prison staff to have me or the priest/deacon ministering in the prisons to come and see you.”


That’s wrong, he can’t make it a condition of absolution


I could be wrong, I will admit. I had read that a priest can require one to, for example, make restitution for a large theft before granting absolution. “I steal a million dollars, unless I had returned it, I am not sorry for my sin”, type logic. I was extrapolating on that logic, I could be completely off base.


Thanks for the answer. Makes good sense.

I would argue that Romans 13 would seem to support your argument, no?:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.”


You may be misinformed.

When a penitent go to confession he has the absolute certitude that what he can said will not be repeat by the priest.
It is the condition for that the person feels free to confess everything, including a murder.

Breaking the seal of confession by a priest is punished by excomunication of the Church.
Until now, all current democratic states respect this freedom. Priests are not the agents of the state in reporting/gossip all they said. More normally, all penitents are not meant to be identify.

What you want is to put them in prison (or in hell- but that you don’t care). Wonderfull.

And all states have not the same laws surrounding sexual crimes. What is the point of reporting something that happen 50 years ago? In some states, a trial can be done. But in many, the fact are prescribed.


I doubt it, but it does not matter.

At the very least you could have informed me that my previous post alleviated your doubts that I am against the freedom of religion. (It is not fun to be accused of being against the freedom of religion.) And you could have realized that the freedoms we enjoy are never absolute.

Unfortunately it is next to impossible to reach an agreement, since we have different value systems. I consider the rights of the victims - and the future victims - much more important than the good feeling of the psychopaths they may gain from being “forgiven”. Besides, if someone is genuinely repentant, then he does not need a priest to declare it. God is perfectly capable of forgiving the sins on his own.


Yes, no communication is possible as you said. You don’t believe in the sacramant of confession.

A priest is not bound to forgive every person who confess his sin. He can ask him before to report himself to the police.


You may believe this, but it does not support your claim of believing in freedom of religion. We don’t believe that (at least not as a general/simple formula), so our freedom of religion cannot rest on a theological argument.


Please read on.

Last time I heard, only WE are bound by the sacraments, God is NOT. By the way, the freedom of religion is a totally secular concept. It has nothing to do with theology. In the US it rests on the first amendment.


Suppressing the seal will only make the maybe small percentage of people who commits crimes and are remorsfull to run away confession and keep it for themselves.
They will lack the adviseand support of a priest who can lead them to the police.


Having stood in a long confession line on many occasions, and then confessed my sins behind a curtained screen in a standard confessional, I am pretty certain that the priest, after hearing numerous sins of numerous people within the space of an hour, could not even know or recall anyone who confessed, or what was confessed. So what good would such a law do? Would the priest have to stop the confession and say wait a minute, I’ll have to get your name, address and telephone number to report this to the cops. I think that whoever proposed this must have no idea of how the sacrament actually is done.


I think they have no idea how it is done.Or about the sacrement altogether.

Would it stop at abuse?(theft,family disputes and so on)
How many would it turn away from confession?At what cost would it be to souls?
Would it prevent sinners of all kinds from trying to turn their lives around and make reparation through the sacrament of confession ?
According to a priest on the radio here the other day,he has never heard of this particular sin being confessed in all his years as priest.

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