Could you offer clarity on confession outside of the confessional?


#1

In response to a question, you said:

[quote=Michelle Arnold]As for the penitent, he may feel the need to confess outside of the confessional in order to make amends for his wrongdoing; and such confession may or may not be prudentially sound. However, he is under no requirement to do so and must realize that whatever he confesses outside of the sacrament of penance is not protected by the sacramental seal.
[/quote]

Surely you’re not suggesting that if a person confesses adultery to his/her spouse after confessing to a priest, the priest then has full authority to blab about it to everyone else he comes across? Do you mean to say the sacramental seal no longer applies if the penitent talks about the confession outside the confessional?


#2

[quote=Lamb100]Surely you’re not suggesting that if a person confesses adultery to his/her spouse after confessing to a priest, the priest then has full authority to blab about it to everyone else he comes across?
[/quote]

No, that’s not what I suggested at all. The priest is prohibited from discussing a sacramental confession for any reason whatsoever, even if the penitent decides to talk about it. What I was saying is that a person who talks about a sin he confessed in the sacrament of penance to an outsider is not binding that person by the sacramental seal. The outsider is not bound by the seal, as is the priest.

[quote=Lamb100]Do you mean to say the sacramental seal no longer applies if the penitent talks about the confession outside the confessional?
[/quote]

If a penitent decides to tell an outsider about his confession, the outsider is not bound by the sacramental seal. For example, if a murderer confessed his sin to the priest, received absolution, and then confessed the crime to the district attorney, the district attorney is not bound by the sacramental seal of confession. He may prosecute the case. However, the priest may not therefore discuss the contents of the confession with the D.A. The priest is still bound by the sacramental seal, even if this particular sin is now “public knowledge.”


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