Confession staying in the confessional box


Is the priest only prevented from saying who committed such and such, or is he prevented from mentioning such and such at all times?

“Such and such” not being a “typical” sin but very depraved and wicked.

For instance, can he say during a homily, “Recently, someone confessed [_______]”?


A priest can never reveal what is said in confession or even who came to confession. There can never be any mention of it or even a hint about it. Who comes to confession and everything said during it is under the “seal of confession.”


It sounds as if the situation is technically ok, but in my opinion it isn’t good practice.
God bless you :slight_smile:


One time, during the homily, a priest at my church was talking about things people in general often say in confession.
I don’t know if he should have but he did. It might be different, though, than to think of a specific incident and simply not mention the name.


Wow I’ve never heard of a priest doing that. I could be wrong but I think that would be a violation of the Seal of Confession-the mentioning of names isn’t the only issue. As I understand it priests are not allowed to discuss what’s confessed at all nor to act on information received in Confession even with the penitent. For example, if a penitent confesses a sin that the priest thinks needs more discussion outside of Confession , he has to mention that to the penitent and let them decide-he can’t bring up what’s been confessed to that penitent once they leave the Confessional.


It would seem that, if a priest said, “people confess X in the confessional,” that (strictly speaking) wouldn’t violate the seal. However, there’s a particular danger here: if a priest gives details that would allow a person to be personally identified (even if he didn’t give their names, or even if he thought he wasn’t giving enough detail to ID them), then that would seem to break the seal. For example, if he said “this past Saturday, a person confessed Y”, and someone had mentioned to a friend that they went to confession to that priest this past Saturday, that might allow the person to conclude that he confessed Y. Not all who would conclude this, would be correct; but someone might accurately conclude that. So, in that case, the priest aided in the identification of a person and the sin they confessed. That would be a violation of the seal.

So, in general, it’s prudent for a priest never to mention any details about things they’ve heard in the confessional, even if it seems that there will never be any consequences. :shrug:


Can. 983 §1 The sacramental seal is inviolable. Accordingly, it is absolutely wrong for a confessor in any way to betray the penitent, for any reason whatsoever, whether by word or in any other fashion.


I remember as a young man of 15 or so, I went to confession and told the priest of my sins…typical sin of a teenager, I swore, disrespectful to parents at times, stole a small item, and touched myself.

About a week or two later, the priest approached my after mass one Sunday. I was an alter boy and just finishing up with my duties. He said out of the blue, how are you doing with masturbation…I remember feeling totally ill at ease of his question and somewhat uncertain if he could bring up a sin I confessed in confidence…I stammered something about I’m fine or ok and walked away.

A couple of years later during a retreat, the same priest stood up at the retreat an announced he was gay.

I don’t know why I’m bringing this up. Just talk to your children about trusting your feelings. I never told my Dad nor Mom. I did tell my twin brother. At that age you know how awkward it is to say something about touching yourself.

Is it ok to bring up a confessed sin later by a priest?


No, it was not okay for a priest to bring up something you had mentioned in confession. You could have mentioned this to another priest or the bishop. You still could if he is still an active priest.


Yea…I was afraid of something like that…

That’s why I want to make my general confession to a priest I’ll probably never see again…

Is that allowed? Do I have to make an appointment with a priest (from another parish/city) and explain that I have to do this before Easter Vigil?


You are not required to confess to any particular priest and you are not required to confess only at your parish church.
If there is another parish within easy reach I would suggest you find out the Confession times and then join the line.


In general you can go to any priest or parish you want for confession. I notice that you are in RCIA. You might mention to your leader that you itend to confess at X parish. I have heard some RCIA schedule a reconciliation night and expect all to attend. I don’t think they can require that so just let them know your plan.

If this is your first confession and/or a general confession you should make an appointment. You can still go behind the screen but let the priest know because it could take longer than typical and sometimes confession times are short. Good Luck and WELCOME HOME


this was over 30 years ago, I highly doubt he is alive. But thanks for the reply/support. When your a teenager, the priest is in a very powerful position in your eyes, at least they were for me, so I kept quiet, to embarrassed to say anything.


I didn’t confess via RCIA due to the pastor there being a member of my wife’s extended family. We mutually agreed it would be better if I went elsewhere. I made an appointment and did face to face in an office when I did it instead of behind a screen or in a confessional


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