How is breaking confidential conversations with a priest looked upon by the Church

For over a year I carried a serious problem concerning a very small and new mission. They used a different use of the Mass, although Latin Rite Catholics.

Finally I spoke to a priest I knew for many years about my concerns and although I don’t believe he said anything for many months, I now feel that he is retiring and has another position with this this new group, that something was mentioned.

I also felt the need to go to a priest who was covering for our pastor who was very ill. During our conversation I was told he knew all the people involved. This set me back as I didn’t want anyone’s name brought into this.

Sunday I greeted the priest and told him I had confirmation of what I had told him and he said “oh I was going to invite him here” I assume to either explain what his group is about or to celebrate the Mass. After Mass I again spoke to him and said I surely feel you can choose whoever you want to come. Of course this would make me very uncomfortable as there is a long story behind this and I am sure that it might be difficult to believe that a very newly ordained priest who also was newly confirmed into the Church would behave as I mentioned. I believe that our priest feels or at least felt that I was just malcontent etc.
once he recognized the people involved.

I am not paranoid, nor malcontent and after reading about this other person who had been associated with this new priest and was saying the exact same issues I had, it gave me relief.

Now I feel that one of the priests has spoken to this new priest about me and feel at loss who I can trust within the clergy to keep their vow of secrecy, our conversation was suppose to be confidential.

Like I mentioned it is a very long story that goes back many years and I cannot divulge most of what transpired here. I never wanted any names brought into the conversation, just needed some advice how to deal with this in a spiritual manner. I also know that nothing will be done and I suppose my experience is so minor compared to most that I just need to learn to deal with it.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary


Obviously there is an assumption of strict confidentiality within the Confessional. Penalties for violating the Seal are severe. And I’ve never heard of it happening (and I’ve asked about specific examples a couple of times on this Forum - nobody else had heard of it either).

Outside of the Confessional, priests are under no greater obligation for confidentiality than any layperson. We ALL have an obligation to respect confidentiality. If you say, “I don’t want you to repeat this to anyone” and I agree, I am obliged to keep your confidence (unless you tell me something that I cannot morally conceal, such as your plan to kill somebody).

We all have this obligation, including priests. If the priest told you he would keep the discussion confidential then he is obliged to do so (as are we all). But, just as I cannot morally conceal certain things you tell me, neither can a priest (outside of the Confessional). If he’s not wearing a purple stole, the rules for a priest are the same as for you or I.

If the priest did not give any assurance of confidentiality then he could ethically share the conversation if he considered it appropriate to do so. It’s possible the priest was not aware of your desire to keep the conversation private.

Although it was outside of the confessional, both priests did know and promised not to say anything. Nothing that was done by the new priest and some of his followers were of an a sexual nature, however, at least morally and ethically it was unchristian. To be honest I still can’t understand the behavior, and it reminds me of some teenagers and even adults who attack others for their own agendas. As I said the new priest was not Catholic for long and even some Catholics don’t appear to be following our Lord.

It is a very complicated matter and we all know there can be one bad apple in a bunch, but that doesn’t mean every apple is bad.

God Bless


There is no vow of secrecy, except within the sacrament of Confession. All priests are human and therefore imperfect.

Your story is confusing because you had to leave so much out. Also, I’m not sure what priest you are talking about in different places. (Calling them Fr. A, Fr. B, and Fr. C might help.) But I’m not sure I see what evidence there is that anyone said anything they had promised not to tell. Also, it is possible that if one of the priests was a pastor who was handing over the pastorship to someone new, that he thought he had the secret in his capacity as a pastor and therefore should hand it on to his successor.

Also, I’m not at all sure what the relevance of one of the priests being a convert is. And of course there are Catholics who don’t always follow our Lord–there always have been.


I am sorry that I started the thread. I understand exactly that it is confusing as to be honest I did not want to cause any harm to other communities which this one is part of.

It is an impossible situation and I will just accept that the Lord has shown me that what I was looking for within the Church, is not that important and He is where He wants me to be.

Please forgive me for asking for advice when I can’t even explain my frustration.

Although it has been difficult for me, I feel that this situation has given me more trust that my conversion many years ago was the best move I could make for my spiritual growth.

I thank God everyday that I am a Catholic, even with some of the warts as you stated we are all human and all fail to always follow the Lord.

God Bless


I am sure that both you and the Church have been enriched by your conversion. May God bless you in your time of difficulty, I will pray for you that you will know what to do and/or think about this situation. I’m sure that will me more worthwhile than any advice I could offer, anyway. :slight_smile:


Thank you for your prayers, they really are needed at this time.

God Bless


No need to regret asking for advice! You’ll be in our prayers for those that have stumbling blocks placed before them.

As for the members of church acting poorly - if I may off there the old Lutheran remark that:

“Of course the church suffers! The devil does his best against it! Therefore - beware when the Church doesn’t suffer!.”

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