Translator and sacramental seal


I already know that if a translator is present to assist a priest and penitent during confession, he or she is also bound by the sacramental seal…otherwise, violating the seal would mean excommunication.

But what if the translator is not Catholic? Is there a rule about them being Catholic? It would seem desirable for them to be Catholic because I would have more trust that their lips would be “sealed,” and of course, if they were not Catholic, they could not be excommunicated, so there would be no pain from that penalty.


Yes it would be best to have a Catholic (who lives as such!) if one uses a translator.

I've never heard of a translator in confession.



There is no rule about a translator being Catholic–although a Catholic is an obvious preference. A priest would only employ a translator who is absolutely trustworthy. It’s not so much the penalty of excommunication that preserves the seal, but the integrity of the translator. The type of person who would not care about breaking the Seal, but instead needs the threat of excommunication to keep from violating it would not be a candidate for translator in the first place.

closed #5

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit