Will a Deacon keep things confidential?



i asked a question to a Deacon, hoping that he would answer it and allow me to go my way. To my disappointment this Deacon understood too much. My parish is large and hoped that he would forget what he thinks he knows, by not remembering me. He does know and will give me a look. i try to avoid him as much as possible. i am worried that he will tell someone else to think he is helping me. So are they required to keep sensitive things confidential?

i hope i placed this thread in the right Forum. Thank you for your attention.





If you told something to the Deacon in his capacity as a Deacon, spiritual advisor etc., then he is bound by strict rules of non disclosure except in certain well defined situations.

If you asked him a casual question, not as a Deacon, but as merely someone in the congregation, then he might not be bound by the same rules although I would assume that most Deacons would take such questions seriously due to their status as Deacons, and keep the matter to himself.

Should a Deacon reveal something of a sensitive nature, told to him in his capacity as a Deacon, he can be disciplined or removed from the Deaconate…

I am curious though, why you would speak of this manner to a Deacon rather than to a Priest.


By “Professional standards” one would hope so.


everyone connected with the parish in a pastoral or administrative capacity, employees and volunteers, is bound by confidentiality rules, as well as by general rules of ethical conduct, in the same way as for instances those in a law firm or medical office. If one comes upon confidential information about anyone, parishioner or otherwise, it is not to be shared with anyone except where there is a bona fide need to know. This is not the same as the more explicit seal of confession, which of course is binding only upon priests in the confessional.\

this means that such an employee or volunteer cannot share it with a third party, cannot discuss it with others, and cannot behave as if he has “secret knowledge” and take action based on the information, except such action as falls within his pastoral or administrative ministry or job description. For instance, if a child shares something with a catechist the parents should know, the catechist should share it with the DRE or pastor, or with the parent, but never with other volunteers, her family, other children in the class etc.

this confidentiality applies, by the way, to parish office staff as well, and most are very conscientious about observing it, but if there is a breech it should be reported to the pastor immediately.


Gossip is a character vice that Deacons are supposed to be free of.



Thank you for responding to my question.

To answer your question, i chose Deacon because he is leaving, protection for myself. He is very popular, i had hoped he would forget this question and the person asking.

i did not ask the priest because he knows my kin. Also i like him. i do not think i could go back to this Church, if Father understood the meaning behind my question.

i still need this question answered. Something is holding me to the answer. i can not move into action without this answer. Deacon understood the question and gave me what i think is a response that he HAD to say. Without Biblical back up. Again thank you for your time.


Br. Rich SFO,

Thank you for responding.




Thank you very much for the information and your time.




i hope so, i really hope so. Thank you for your time.



Hi, maybe I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that only priests can hear confessions and absolve sins. Deacons do not have that Sacrament. As such, I’m to conclude that deacons do not have an obligation to keep a secret. I could very well be wrong, though.



i understand what you are saying, it was a question, not a confession. My stomach turned with you stating that he is under no obligation not to tell another.

What done is done, no turning back now. i can hope that he has not told Father.

Last night before i posted this Thread, i went to Deacon’s farewell party at Church. i happened to look over to where Deacon and two priests were talking with a friend to my kin (which can be dangerous for me). They were all turned my way looking at me. Deacon later came over to me and stated that if i needed to speak with the Pastor that i should or they will get in touch with him on my behalf. i said no, and quickly left.

i was convinced that me or my question did not matter. i am surprised and worried at the same time. Perhaps it does not matter and he will forget. Thank you for your response.



Hi Chyna! I’m really sorry if I caused you any distress, as I’m no expert on this matter. If the conversation were had with the understanding that it was not to be divulged to a third party, then the deacon would have a moral - but not necessarily legal or binding - obligation keep it a secret.

Now I don’t know the nature of the conversation, but maybe it’s not a bad idea that your parish priests know about it. Maybe you could even speak to them about it. As for family members, I don’t know. Like most people, I don’t tell my family everything, so I can understand your reasoning behind wanting to keep it a secret.

Anyway, I hope everything works out for the best!

Peace be with you, my friend.


The only Canon obligation to keep things confidential is that seal of the Confessional. The priest who hears one’s Confession (and anyone who may overhear) is to keep what is discussed confidential, to the extreme that it can be considered unwise to discuss your Confession outside of the Confessional with any priest (especially the Confessor).

However, if you have a matter to discuss with any clergyman that you wish to have him keep confidential, you should request that of him. If he cannot honor your request, you should not discuss the matter with him. If he can, you should trust him to do so.



You caused no distress for me. Thank you again for your comments. It is of great importance that i remain part of the back ground. Having my parish priest know that i asked this question, i would have to leave. i would never trust that he would act not out of true concern or obligation.
Anyway, i have never understood as to why i asked this question to an outsider. i have had this question on my mind since my teenage years.

Thanks again for your time.



Hi Chyna, I would think that someone who has undergone formation and ordination to the diaconate is someone with sense of compassion and understanding of confidentiality. Rather than relying on legal and ethical opinions concerning confidentiality, why not simply go to the deacon and ask him to keep your disclosure confidential. God bless!



i was unable to get myself to do that. i was hoping that he would not remember, there are so many people in the Church. i did not want to remind him, that i was the one who asked that.
After last night, i know he associated the question to me, i was fooling myself to think he would not recall the question. Now he is gone, today he left the Church.

Thank you for responding



This thread is now closed. Thanks to all who participated in the discussion.

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