Seal of confession when no absolution?


I was wondering if, in the case where a priest refuses to give the absolution, the seal of confession is still present. Because, if there is no absolution, the sacrament has technically not taken place, right? For example, if a man says he intends to kill someone, he is no really repentant, and so the priest cannot give him the absolution. Is the priest in this case still bound by the seal of confession?

Also, is it true that a priest cannot even tell if he heard the confession of a particular person? Or if he gave him an absolution? I always thought that a priest had the right to say “I gave the absolution to John” without disclosing John’s sins.


The refusal to grant absolution still takes place as part of the confession, so while there may not actually be any absolution, the seal of the confession would still apply.


ANYTHING said in the Confessional is between the Penitent, the Priest and God ONLY. The ONLY person that could reveal anything said is the Penitent but it would only be their word. That is why Confession is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good and SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO important for Catholics. We can tell the Priest ANYTHING and it can go NO further. The Priest can counsel, he can try to convince the Penitent to turn himself or herself in if it was a SERIOUS crime against someone where they were abused or killed, but no matter what the Penitent says they will do or have done it has to STAY with the Priest in the Confessional. A priest is supposed to choose death before revealing anything confessed to them in Confession.


It’s actually called the seal of the confessional. Anything that take place there, stays there.


It’s like Las Vegas.
What’s said in the confessional stays in the confessional.


The seal of the confessional is similar to the confidentiality standard we honored as cab drivers back in the day.

But we weren’t expected to die to stay discrete.


Actually a similar subject came up once before, and a priest weighed in. I am writing by memory, but here goes. Someone can correct me if I am wrong. Although it is at times called the Seal of the Confessional, it really has little to do with the confessional. The sacrament seal applies when the penitent intends to receive the sacrament. It has nothing to do with either absolution or with the confessional per se. If a person enters the confessional, starts a conversation with the priest but never intended to confess their sins/receive the sacrament, the sacramental seal does not apply.

It is a minor point, but there was a weird situation that came up on this forum and everyone thought the priest in the confessional did something wrong, but the priest on this forum said it was not violating the seal.


Firstly did a priest refuse you absolution. Secondly, how would anyone know if a priest refused absolution, with the seal of Reconcilliation not to be broken


So if someone enters a church and decides to use what they see as a vacant confessional to shoot up, priest walks in and see him doing it, he is permitted to drop a dime on him and it wouldn’t be a violation.


Not for sure what “drop a dime” means, but the sacramental seal would not apply.



two points to address

  1. true, one who is not sorry is not forgiven
  2. a priest can’t forgive something that hasn’t happened yet

I’m not sure what you are asking?


Not exactly! Sins are not to be revealed. A priest cannot repeal the sin, if the pennant would be obvious, and cannot reveal the person if the sin is obvious. Other things that are not sins can be revealed, again if doing so does not reveal the sin. Hope that is clear.


“dropping a dime” means to report the perpetrator to the police. The reference is to the ten cent charge required by pay phones back in the day here in America, where the dime or two nickels were dropped in a slot at the top of the phone.


If the person wasn’t saying his confession to the Priest and using the Church Confessional to shoot up drugs then he has the right to report him first for trespassing and second because what he’s doing is illegal.


One example I have heard is that a priest couldn’t say anything, even if it was confessed that they had poisoned the communion wine and his fellow priest (or himself) was scheduled for a mass shortly.


Yes, of course. Just trying to strike a reassuring tone suited for the question (you know, with the seal holding even if absolution is not bestowed.) :grinning: I have been aware of priests repeating general, helpful anecdotes from the confessional. This can be very interesting.


Well, I read somewhere that the priest can’t say if he gave the absolution to a specific person. So it would mean that, even if the priest doesn’t disclose the sins of this peson, he also doesn’t have the right to disclose if he gave him the absolution or not. My question was: is this true?


Can the priest prescribe an apology to someone who was the victim of the sin for the penance?


Don’t understand what you are asking?

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