Is A Priest allowed to tell others what is said if not in a confession


Hi there,
A friend of mine brought up an interesting question to me about if a priest can tell someone what was said to the priest in private but not covered under the seal of confession. This happened to my friend. And I am not trying to get in anyone in trouble since I want to give my friend an answer.


I am serious in just being curious since I know that a priest can be excommunicated for revealing what was said in confession and if this counts as part of it or not.


Are you talking about a discussion regarding specific sins or something like “so and so is having a baby”?


My friend kept bringing up an issue where he looked up that legally that he has been abused by some of the YM leadership and they kept trying to tell him to stop it. My friend thinks the priests told the YM leadership that my friend kept bringing it up. My friend has a disability, which I do not want to disclose.


It’s not confession, then the same rules apply as to anyone.

Notify your diocese’s youth protection office IMMEDIATELY.


I just want to be sure I understand what you’re asking - are you talking about discussions you might have with your priest where you seek advice or direction, unrelated at all to the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Or are you talking about additional things you might disclose during confession that would not actually be part of a “confession”?

My understanding is that the seal of the confessional protects all disclosures made during confession. Any other conversation - i.e., stopping for a chat after Mass or making an appointment to talk about a trying situation - would not be covered by the seal of the confessional, but I think there is a reasonable expectation that the priest would keep any such disclosures confidential, or at least, that they would ask permission before sharing it with anyone.


My friend tried that but no response. Plus the Vicar General said it was the responsibility of the YM not his to do anything with this. Although my friend said that the YM director was involved in a plot to discriminate against him.


Then either you have a massive case of corruption on your hands or I am misunderstanding the situation. Depending on the kind of abuse at least…

Send me a PM and I will help you through it if you’d like.


Frankly, this sounds off. Each Diocese has an anonymous tip line that goes to professionals. I say get your friend to the proper reporting place and tell him to stop telling random people.He needs to report to the agency that handles Safe Environment, Virtus, or whatever program your Diocese uses.
Do it today. Now that YOU know, you must report.


It has been tried too many times by myself and my friend but it keeps ending in “lack of substantial evidence”


Then do what you can.

Again, to answer your original question, yes, he can.


Did our friend speak to the priest with a view to something being done about it and whom did your friend expect or ask the priest to speak to on his behalf? With what precise purpose did he approach the priest?

We don’t know how serious the abusive behaviour was. It sounds like the youth ministers and priests are tactless towards the students at the very least.

On the other hand if it was minor your friend should reckon with the fact that the priests and youth ministers just keep having off days.

You are both quite at liberty to avoid these people.

This is in addition to weighing up any of the suggestions by other members.

An Our Father said.


This is the bit that worries me the most. We here don’t know what the original behaviour concerned was, though.


Well, the story is “off”

I would give the clergy the benefit of the doubt over a second hand story. but hey. :shrug:


Find another trusted adult member, well respected, and speak with the priest again and go from there.

You are using the term abuse, but I’m wondering if you mean discrimination, since you have referenced a disability.

Or are you talking about other members of the youth bullying/harassing your friend with disability and the YM not addressing it?

There’s so many unanswered questions, that it makes it hard to give solid advice.

Is it at all possible that your friend is the one that is overreacting or misunderstanding. There are certain disabilities that effect the intellect or social functioning. Feeling hurt or offended by other’s actions, can happen to anybody, but it’s not always from the result of something illegal.

You are saying YM? Are you minors? Are there parents that can step in here?


On the other thread, the “abuse” turned out to be that someone disagreed with him on whether to use Gregorian Chant at a Youth Mass - he wanted to, and they were choosing something else, so he accused them of abusing him.


You are very mistaken @jmcrae. I was suggesting music more like Haugen and what not instead of Matt Maher and those contemporary CINOs (Catholic in Name Onlys). Although, I did suggest using Latin Mass for the season of Lent. I admit I overused the term abuse but the term is discrimination.


That’s sort of funny considering Haugen isn’t a Catholic at all.


All of those are fine for Youth Masses. Nothing bad happened to you. Being outvoted is part of life.


A priest is NOT bound to confidentiality outside of the sacrament of confession. He is just another normal “professional” person that you must decide on your own to be trustworthy or not. Priests will often freely consult with each other.

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