Confessions made to a priest who is no longer a priest


#1

I'm in a quandary. My former priest very recently left the priesthood and the church, and got married in a Protestant church. Does the fact that he is no longer a priest in any way invalidate confessions I made to him as recently as 4 months ago? My faith and trust in the sacrament of reconciliation is so shaky right now, because I know that his vow of privacy to the confessional is only as good as his commitment to those vows, which was obviously non-existent. It's not that I'm afraid he's going to blab, but just that the trust I had in the sacrament based on trusting the authority of the priesthood, is shot. I'd very very much appreciate some insight - and help in calming down a little.


#2

[quote="marthagreys, post:1, topic:303390"]
I'm in a quandary. My former priest very recently left the priesthood and the church, and got married in a Protestant church. Does the fact that he is no longer a priest in any way invalidate confessions I made to him as recently as 4 months ago? My faith and trust in the sacrament of reconciliation is so shaky right now, because I know that his vow of privacy to the confessional is only as good as his commitment to those vows, which was obviously non-existent. It's not that I'm afraid he's going to blab, but just that the trust I had in the sacrament based on trusting the authority of the priesthood, is shot. I'd very very much appreciate some insight - and help in calming down a little.

[/quote]

No, the fact that he has left the priesthood and married in a Protestant church (sad as that is) does not in any way invalidate the confessions or any other sacraments that he celebrated. Fortunately, the power of the sacraments depends not on the personal holiness of the priest celebrating but rather upon the power of Christ. He is the one who works through the sacraments.

I think it is highly unlikely that this priest will reveal anything that he heard in the confessional, even though he left the Church. Cases of priests who break the seal of confession are so rare as to be almost unheard of, even among those who leave the Church.


#3

On another thread a Priest left to get married and preach in a Protestant denomination.

Hope this is not becoming a trend


#4

Assuming he had faculties to hear confessions at the time you went to him, your confessions would have been valid (unless something else invalidated them). FYI: Your former priest is still technically a priest. Ordination leaves an indelible mark on the soul that can’t be undone. While he is laicized, he still has the power to consecrate and to absolve sins in the danger of death (he would need faculties from the local ordinary in any other case).


#5

[quote="marthagreys, post:1, topic:303390"]
I'm in a quandary. My former priest very recently left the priesthood and the church, and got married in a Protestant church. Does the fact that he is no longer a priest in any way invalidate confessions I made to him as recently as 4 months ago? My faith and trust in the sacrament of reconciliation is so shaky right now, because I know that his vow of privacy to the confessional is only as good as his commitment to those vows, which was obviously non-existent. It's not that I'm afraid he's going to blab, but just that the trust I had in the sacrament based on trusting the authority of the priesthood, is shot. I'd very very much appreciate some insight - and help in calming down a little.

[/quote]

Fear not! :console:

  1. The vow of privacy (the "seal of the confessional") remains in force even after laicization.

  2. The power to hear Confessions - or to be a minister of any other Sacrament - remains as long as the person is a priest. Even if he leaves the priesthood, the Sacraments he has performed remain valid. Christ has absolved your sins in the person of the priest; the priest's power to forgive sins is a gift from Christ (John 20: 22-23). So, all your prior confessions remain valid. God will be true, even if men are false.

  3. I'd strongly suggest looking for another confessor; preferably an older priest whose chances of leaving the priesthood are much lower.


#6

Don't worry about it.

I just told a priest that Satan has killed 3 of my friends and demons are oppressing those around me constantly. He told me to see a medical professional (already did that duh).
Then told me he had to leave and I should too.

This is right after registering at that Parish.

I will probably be in a padded cell soon.

Just putting things in perspective thats all.


#7

He was the active priest at our parish at the time he was still hearing confessions, so I'm safe on that part. This all happened very quickly and very suddenly.


#8

Hi, martha! We can certainly understand the upheaval that you and your fellow parishioners are experiencing now, but think of it this way: all of you are still safe and sound within the arms of the Church. Only the priest left, so any problems that result from his leaving are his. The Church is ongoing, so the graces you receive there are ongoing. God's got it covered!

Having a priest leave isn't a common occurrence so it's natural to be stunned by the news, but the sacraments are guaranteed by God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, and enabled by the Holy Spirit. The priest was the human mouthpiece through whom God spoke, through whom your sins were absolved. So now another priest will assume that role in the ongoing plan of the Church. Just trust in the Lord!


#9

If the priest was in good standing and had the faculties to hear confessions when he heard your confession then the confession was valid.
Remember that priests are human just like everybody else and apparently he has made some decisions that I would not recommend to anybody. We need to pray for him.
:(:(:(

:signofcross::signofcross::signofcross:


#10

Yes, as said above, those past confessions of yours were and are and always will be valid no matter what happened afterward. And again, the priest is still a priest in the eyes of the Church, even though now he is in seriously not good shape with his own situation. If you were involved in a car accident, and were in danger of death, and he drove by and recognized you, he could still validly absolve your sins even though he has left the priesthood and the Church, since priestly ordination is forever.

Most priests don’t even remember things they hear in confession. There is no reason to think he would ever talk about it.

Don’t worry - all is well, and I hope your trust in the sacrament strengthens, as it should :slight_smile:


#11

Wouldn't he still be under the religious version of doctor-patient or lawyer-client confidentiality? An ex-doctor still can't talk about his patients, an ex-lawyer still can't talk about his clients.


#12

[quote="marthagreys, post:1, topic:303390"]
I'm in a quandary. My former priest very recently left the priesthood and the church, and got married in a Protestant church. Does the fact that he is no longer a priest in any way invalidate confessions I made to him as recently as 4 months ago? My faith and trust in the sacrament of reconciliation is so shaky right now, because I know that his vow of privacy to the confessional is only as good as his commitment to those vows, which was obviously non-existent. It's not that I'm afraid he's going to blab, but just that the trust I had in the sacrament based on trusting the authority of the priesthood, is shot. I'd very very much appreciate some insight - and help in calming down a little.

[/quote]

Your confessions are still valid. The former priest must still honor your secrecy of the confession by contract law, so don't worry about him talking. If he does then you could have a civil case against him.


#13

[quote="Chrish1975, post:12, topic:303390"]
The former priest must still honor your secrecy of the confession by contract law, so don't worry about him talking. If he does then you could have a civil case against him.

[/quote]

False.


#14

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