How does a Deaf person confess?


#1

I was wondering how a Deaf person confesses? I assume there aren’t many Priests who are fluent in sign language - do they have to confess through an interpreter? And if so, what guarantee do they have that the interpreter won’t repeat what they heard?


#2

I’d think, under the circumstances, that one could write out their sins. To speak out might risk being overheard, and penintents are to be guaranteed the right to confidentiality. The deaf person would just have to say, “Father, I accuse myself of these sins,” and then hand him the paper explaining that they are deaf.


#3

thanks windmill… so obvious. Why didn’t I think of that?


#4

[quote=carol marie]I was wondering how a Deaf person confesses? I assume there aren’t many Priests who are fluent in sign language - do they have to confess through an interpreter? And if so, what guarantee do they have that the interpreter won’t repeat what they heard?
[/quote]

A person can make use of an interpreter. The interpreter is bound by the same Canon Law as the priest regarding the seal and is excommunicated if they disclose anything.


#5

Just an interesting story about a friend of a friend:
This young woman is deaf, so she writes out her sins, and when she goes to confession, she gives the priest the list. This normally works out well for her, because her parish priest obviously knows what’s going on. She went on a retreat one time, and part of the retreat was an opportunity for confession. She chose a line, and when it came time for her to confess, she went in and handed the priest the list of her sins. The only problem was that the priest was blind.


#6

Sign language is really not that hard to learn and the hand alphabet is ridiculously simple as well. :slight_smile:


#7

[quote=Grace and Glory]Just an interesting story about a friend of a friend:
This young woman is deaf, so she writes out her sins, and when she goes to confession, she gives the priest the list. This normally works out well for her, because her parish priest obviously knows what’s going on. She went on a retreat one time, and part of the retreat was an opportunity for confession. She chose a line, and when it came time for her to confess, she went in and handed the priest the list of her sins. The only problem was that the priest was blind.
[/quote]

That almost sounds like a punch line for a joke, except people really do have handicaps and need special or unusual means to cope with them.


#8

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]A person can make use of an interpreter. The interpreter is bound by the same Canon Law as the priest regarding the seal and is excommunicated if they disclose anything.
[/quote]

They (and also anyone who comes by any means whatsoever to be aware of sins from a confession) are all bound under pain of mortal sin to observe the secret and there are no exceptions whatsoever to the obligation and the gravity of the obligation and it always involves a sin of sacrilege. However, in the case of the priest the obligation is especially grave due his being in Holy Orders (it is in his case a double sacrilege since he is transgressing both the holiness of the sacrament of penance as well as the holiness of his own holy orders) Also, the law actually differs significantly with regard to the penalties that the priest versus the translator are subject to (apart from differences related to the clerical state):

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

§2 Interpreters and the others mentioned in can. 983 §2, who violate the secret, are to be punished with a just penalty, not excluding excommunication.

intratext.com/IXT/ENG0017/_P52.HTM#C6

So while the priest (i.e. the confessor) is subject to a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See (i.e. an automatic excommunication requiring the involvement of the Holy See to be absolved), the translator is only subject to a just penalty which may or may not involve excommunication. Both of course are subject to the judgment of God and without being given by Him a special grace of repentance would suffer forever in Hell.


#9

Also, many deaf people do communicate orally (verbally) and not just sign, as well as wear hearing aids. The only thing is that they would need to be in the presence of the priest and not use the screen. Most deaf people I know are terrific lip readers. :slight_smile:


#10

Many of the larger dioceses have a special mass for the deaf and usually at least one priest who knows sign language and prays the mass in sign language. They would just contact their archdiocese to get information about this.


#11

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