Can A Priest Ever Mention, anything Related to What he Heard in a Confession?

Hello Everyone,

This post is not for me, but rather for a friend of mine who is more than “slightly” worried.
He has been having issues with pornography, and frequently confesses this to his priest.

After his last confession, he mentioned to the priest that his father is trying to sell a car, AND apparently the priest told him “Let your father see me this week.”

So now my friend is worried that the priest will mention something from his confessions, to his father. Well the rest is self explanatory.

I tried telling him, that the priest is just interested in buying the car from his father, or probably knows someone who is, but he is still worried that the priest will expose the details of his confessions, to his father.

SO will a priest ever mention anything from a confession to anyone? OR To a family member? As Far as I know it never happens, but I’m just curious if there are any exceptions to the rule, and seal of confession etc, etc.

Replies would be appreciated.

No they are not suppose to. I will reply because I am on just reading a lot of forums. Our priest mentions in his homilies about someone for instance is having trouble with pornography. He doesn’t mention any names. I think he does this to give added advice and you should know that you are not in the same boat. Your dad may already know what you are struggling with. He may be able to help you. Just trust God for the help. My advice throw it out keep your mind occupied with something else. ****

Thank you for the reply, but as I said this doesnt concern me: but my friend and his dad.

If a priest breaks the seal of Confession he is automatically excommunicated. And I believe only the Pope could lift that excommunication. No priest who wants to remain a priest would do that. It is a most grievous offense and there are no exceptions to the rule whatsoever. None. Nada. Zip.

Thank you, no exceptions are exactly what I thought. I’ll show this page to my friend. Would you (or anyone else) happen to know of church documents where this is written?

This worry should be dispelled. I am surprised and never ever met a person who worried after confession. I have only felt relieved and peaceful and as though I had met God.

I know, Confession is so relieving to me: but my friend is a worrysome type and he is quite aware of it. Anyway, thank you everyone. I’ll have him read this page later.

As far as I know, even ex-priests never break the seal of confession. It is not taken lightly by anyone.

Code of Canon Law
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.
Can. 1388 §1. A confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; one who does so only indirectly is to be punished according to the gravity of the delict.

Thank you!

Interesting. I had no idea that ex priests did this.

Remember that there is no such thing as an ex-priest, there are only priests who have been laicized and no longer have faculties to celebrate the sacraments (except that of confession when someone is in danger of death). Violating the seal, even by laicized priests would result in excommunication.

Ok, that explains things. Thank you.

I think what I meant is even priests who have left the Catholic Church.

Yes, if it is of a general nature and cannot be tied to a specific individual. For example, a priest once mentioned in a homily that he had an eight year old confess to committing adultery five times.

Yes, life threatening or a child in danger.

I have heard only a couple of priests say similar things like this from the pulpit…and it is a violation of Canon Law…and very shaky ground…which could lead to further, more egregious violations of the Seal of Confession. The Seal is more…much more than simply revealing an individual’s personal sins confessed to the priest.

The best way a priest should act re: this Seal of the Sacrament…that I have heard…was given by Father Fredrick Miller who is a STD and teaches at the seminaries (also a Marian Scholar and frequent EWTN contributor)…he said on a Catholic Answers Radio Q&A…that he teaches the seminarians this way about the Seal…(paraphrasing) I never say anything that would let anyone know…that I even hear confessions or heard a confession…the only reference I make re: the Sacrament of Reconciliation…is how much it has helped me in my priesthood and my spirituality…my journey of faith…and recommend to the faithful that they should use the Sacrament as a vital part of their Journey to God. This priest is right on target. Bishops need to be made aware of priests mentioning anything heard in confession…(not by name)…but so that their bishop can teach/correct his priests that it is a serious violation. Breaking that Seal is automatic excommunication…and only the Pope can reinstate that priest…usually only after a very long period of penance in a very remote place (monastery).

Good News: when you think of all the unfortunate “bad episodes” that we have all seen or heard of:… pedophile priests, homosexual acts with young men, sexual relations with women and having children…and all the dissenting priests who left the priesthood…none of them in all their faults and failures has ever violated the Seal…quite remarkable in my mind. Thank God the Holy Spirit.

Pax Christi

Can. 984
§1 The confessor is wholly** forbidden to use knowledge acquired in confession** to the detriment of the penitent, even when all danger of disclosure is excluded.

§2 A person who is in authority** may not in any way, for the purpose of external governance, use knowledge about sins which has at any time come to him from the hearing of confession.**



No, not even then. Not if it will reveal the identity of the penitent.

No. Not in any circumstance.

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