In RCIA and have a question about confession


I’m in RCIA and I’m already nervous about my first confession (next year). How do I know the priest will not tell anyone? Will he talk to the Bishop about it if it a really mortal sin? I’m guessing NOT but not sure.

Hypothetically speaking:

If I committed murder and confess to the priest will the priest turn me in to the police?
If I knew having an abortion was a mortal sin and had one and confess will I be excommunicated on the spot right there?
If I knew being a prostitute was a mortal sin and was a prostitute and confess will I be excommunicated on the spot…right then and there?
" " Having an affair " "

Just wondering. I forgot to ask my instructor today. Any input would be greatly appreciated.



Preists can’t tell the cops, or anybody else for that matter, anything you say in the confessional. I don’t know how excommunication for abortion works. Prostitution and affairs aren’t excommunicable offenses, so no.


remember, RCIA is a process, and they will give teachings on many topics. Confession will be talked about as you get closer to having your first confession.

The priest cannot reveal anything he hears in confession to anyone-- not the bishop, not the police, not anyone.

Confession is where your sins are forgiven, so no sin is going to be “too bad” to confess and no the priest does not excommunicate people for confessing their sins. He gives them absolution from their sins.

Excommunication is a penalty for those who are not repentant to help them understand the gravity of their sins and to come back to the Church and to confession.

If a person does something that is an automatic excommunicable offense, like abortion, it is the act itself that excommunicates us-- confession is how we get back to being right with God and the Church.

Only Catholics can be excommunicated anyway-- you are not a Catholic yet.


The priest won’t tell anyone anything and probably will forget anything you say. He has heard a lot of bad stuff too and probably isn’t impressed with your sins. If you mention or he knows that this is your first confession he probably will go easy on you. :wink: He can’t make you go to the police and confess anything. The bishop doesn’t want to hear anything about a confession from any priest regardless of the subject matter.


I think abortion is a special case, depending on whether the person knew whether it was an excommunicable offense when she did it. If she didn’t, I think a priest can absolve her. If not, I think it has to be taken up to another level, if I remember correctly, before it can be resolved.


First of all, the penalty for a priest violating the seal of confession, IIRC, is that the priest can no longer be in active ministry - he is disrobed. It may even be excommunication, though I’m not sure about that. That, in and of itself, is enough for the vast majority of priests to not violate the seal of confession. This seal is so sacred that the priest may not even reveal what is said in confession under oath in a court of law. The courts even recognize it as sacrosanct as attorney-client privilege.

Secondly, a priest can hold sins bound, or say that it is beyond his power to forgive a certain sin. Some sins require absolution from the local bishop or even from the Holy See. However, such sins are ones that are extremely serious (such as willfull abortion and full apostasy). If this is the case, the priest will simply state that it is beyond his power to forgive a specific sin and refer you to contact the proper people - but he still cannot say what you told him in the confessional. At other times, he will hold a sin bound if he does not feel that you are truly penitent (for example, you have no intention to end an affair - he will, however, generally forgive you if you want to stop a given sin, such as if you are addicted to pornography, but are struggling actually doing so).


Confession is repenting and asking forgiveness for your sins. Part of repenting is resolving never to repeat those sins; sometimes we are successful, sometimes we are not. But if we are truly repentant and confess, and resolve to do better, we are forgiven.

The seal of confession will not be broken; not by court order, not by threat of death. The priest chooses whether to answer to man or God, and his first allegiance is to God.

As for abortion/affair/prostitute (I’ve never known anyone who murdered someone other than abortion), I’ve never heard of anyone being excommunicated, or even referred to the bishop. Every sin I’ve ever confessed has been forgiven during the sacrament, and without anything further after leaving the confessional than my penance, and I think that is the norm.

Do not be afraid. He goes before you always.

Welcome to the Faith of our Father. <3


Thank You so much! I feel much better now! God Bless You! :slight_smile:




Thanks! Feel much better now! God Bless! :slight_smile:


As others have mentioned, the penalty for a priest who violates the seal of Confession is SERIOUS. In fact, the penalty is so serious, that the priest immediately excommunicates himself if he does it. AND, the ONLY person who can lift that penalty is the Pope. THAT is how seriously the Church takes the seal of Confession.

Your priest will not bring up your confession with anyone. The reason is that the Church WANTS you to come to Confession regularly, and people will only do so if they know the seal of Confession is sacred. In fact, he can’t even bring it up with you, unless you are in private, and YOU bring it up. He cannot.

Of the sins you listed above, only abortion is something the bishop must forgive, unless he has given facilities to his priests to forgive. Virtually all the bishops in the US have done so.

As to the nervousness about the priest running out of the confessional screaming bloody murder, just relax. :slight_smile: The priest has heard literally thousands of confessions. He is less focused on your sins, and excited and happy that you are coming to God, and that he gets to be a part of God’s grace. Several priests on these forums have mentioned this very thing. They forget the sins, but they remember the wonderful grace that flows.


Its not a special case. Nobody is excommunicated for anything if they did not know the act carried the penalty of excommunication.
As for abortion, anyone who has been automatically excommunicated can be absolved by the priest in Confession. It does not have to be taken to a higher level. This authority has been delegated to priests.


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