In the case where a confessor is someone’s spiritual director, can the penitent speak with the priest outside of the confession(al) regarding matters they need further help with? Is the priest under the seal regarding a topic confessed, even outside the confessional, if the penitent brings it up? Or is just the priest forbidden to start the topic because of the seal?
When a confessor and spiritual director are the same, is a penitent allowed to bring up topics from confession with him?
The priest can never talk about what was said during confession. If the penitent raises the issue in spiritual direction then the priest must act as if it is the first time he is hearing the information. It can be talked about only if the penitent restates everything about the topic during spiritual direction.
The priest can never talk about what took place during the confession, he can only discuss things that are talked about outside of the sacrament. So if I confessed robbing a bank, the priest cannot broach that topic in spiritual direction. But if I say in spiritual direction that I robbed a bank, the priest can not use information gained in the confessional during the conversation. He has to act as if I am telling him for the first time. Anything said in spiritual direction can be further discussed.
Because this can get messy and confusing as to when and where certain things were brought up in the past, it is not recommended that someone’s confessor and spiritual director be the same priest.