Do you have to reveal you're Catholic if confessing to an Orthodox priest?


The previous question about a Catholic receiving sacraments in an Orthodox church has made me think of another. I have been told by Orthodox Christians, including a priest, that some Orthodox priests may be unwilling to grant absolution to a Catholic. With that in mind, is a Catholic who is in danger of death and needs to confess, but for some reason only has access to an Orthodox priest at that moment, morally bound to reveal that he is a Catholic and risk being denied absolution?


Certainly if he is asked if he is Orthodox – or if he is asked if he is Catholic – he must answer the question honestly. But he is not morally bound to volunteer anything other than his need to confess. If the priest does inquire as to whether the Catholic is an Orthodox and then refuses absolution based on the answer, the Catholic can rest assured that he did all that he could to go to confession and that God, in his mercy, will take that into account. It would be the priest who would be responsible for denying a dying person absolution, and we must hope that he sincerely believes that doing so is something that God requires of him.

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