How far does confidentiality extend itself in the confession booth?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Joseph_Botwinick, Mar 5, 2002.

  1. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    Is there ever a time where the priest would say, "Man. This is so horrendous that I have got to report this." or "This guy is going to murder (rape) someone. I have got to report this."? The reason I am asking is because I heard a discussion today about the Catholic priest who molested those children and the reason he wasn't revealed or moved out of the situation is because he told his secret in a confession booth. Is this true and if so, does the Church not have any moral responsibility to protect the innocent and defensless, even if it means breaking confidence?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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  3. Promise

    Promise
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    Having a bit of trouble trying to get an answer, Catholics are just ignoring you...to bad, would have liked to hear an answer on this one.
     
  4. Carson Weber

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    Hi Joseph,

    There are no exceptions to the rule.

    There is an axiom in Catholic Christian moral principles: "One may not use a bad means to achieve a good end."

    In the sacrament of penance, the pastor hearing the confession acts in the person of Christ. He has no authority on his own to reveal those sins confessed.

    God bless,

    Carson

    [ March 05, 2002, 07:10 PM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  5. Carson Weber

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    This may be of further help:

    "The Seal of Confession" from
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11618c.htm

    Regarding the sins revealed to him in sacramental confession, the priest is bound to inviolable secrecy. From this obligation he cannot be excused either to save his own life or good name, to save the life of another, to further the ends of human justice, or to avert any public calamity. No law can compel him to divulge the sins confessed to him, or any oath which he takes -- e.g., as a witness in court. He cannot reveal them either directly -- i.e., by repeating them in so many words -- or indirectly -- i.e., by any sign or action, or by giving information based on what he knows through confession. The only possible release from the obligation of secrecy is the permission to speak of the sins given freely and formally by the penitent himself. Without such permission, the violation of the seal of confession would not only be a grievous sin, but also a sacrilege. It would be contrary to the natural law because it would be an abuse of the penitent's confidence and an injury, very serious perhaps, to his reputation. It would also violate the Divine law, which, while imposing the obligation to confess, likewise forbids the revelation of that which is confessed. That it would infringe ecclesiastical law is evident from the strict prohibition and the severe penalties enacted in this matter by the Church. "Let him beware of betraying the sinner by word or sign or in any other way whatsoever. . . we decree that he who dares to reveal a sin made known to him in the tribunal of penance shall not only be deposed from the priestly office, but shall moreover be subjected to close confinement in a monastery and the performance of perpetual penance" (Fourth Lateran Council, cap. xxi; Denzinger, "Enchir.", 438). Furthermore, by a decree of the Holy Office (18 Nov., 1682), confessors are forbidden, even where there would be no revelation direct or indirect, to make any use of the knowledge obtained in confession that would displease the penitent, even though the non-use would occasion him greater displeasure.

    These prohibitions, as well as the general obligation of secrecy, apply only to what the confessor learns through confession made as part of the sacrament. He is not bound by the seal as regards what may be told him by a person who, he is sure, has no intention of making a sacramental confession but merely speaks to him "in confidence"; prudence, however, may impose silence concerning what he learns in this way. Nor does the obligation of the seal prevent the confessor from speaking of things which he has learned outside confession, though the same things have also been told him in confession; here again, however, other reasons may oblige him to observe secrecy. The same obligation, with the limitations indicated, rests upon all those who in one way or another acquire a knowledge of what is said in confession, e.g., an interpreter who translates for the priest the words of the penitent, a person who either accidentally or intentionally overhears the confession, an ecclesiastical superior (e.g., a bishop) to whom the confessor applies for authorization to absolve the penitent from a reserved case. Even the penitent, according to some theologians, is bound to secrecy; but the more general opinion leaves him free; as he can authorize the confessor to speak of what he has confessed, he can also, of his own accord, speak to others. But he is obliged to take care that what he reveals shall cast no blame or suspicion on the confessor, since the latter cannot defend himself. In a word, it is more in keeping with the intention of the Church and with the reverence due to the sacrament that the penitent himself should refrain from speaking of his confession. Such, undoubtedly, was the motive that prompted St. Leo to condemn the practice of letting the penitent read in public a written statement of his sins (see above); and it needs scarcely be added that the Church, while recognizing the validity of public confession, by no means requires it; as the Council of Trent declares, it would be imprudent to prescribe such a confession by any human enactment.

    God bless,

    Carson
     
  6. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    So it is ok to allow a priest to continue to rape little boys in order to protect his confidentiality and the Church has no moral duty to protect that innocent child? It would be ok to stand by and allow murder and all sorts of violent crimes to be perpetrated against society for the sake of confidentiality. Hey I understand the reasoning behind confidentiality, but seriously, I have to wonder what is more important, protecting the abused and defensless, or protecting the confidence of a pedophile. Obviously, the Catholic Church seems to have chosen the latter if that is what they truly believe. Personally, I believe that turning a blind eye to evil and then justifying it with the principle of confidentiallity is despicable.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  7. Carson Weber

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    Hi Joseph,

    I understand your concerns, and I'm not sure what the subjective implications are for each of the scenarios that you suggested are.

    Did you read the extract that I provided from the Catholic Encyclopedia?

    Also, I have another question for you:

    Considering that approximately 4,400 children are silently murdered by both their mothers and abortion doctors in the US alone each day, should I kill as many abortion doctors in the United States as I possibly can in order to possibly prevent probably at least a thousand abortions due to my actions? Would it not be better for me to perform such a small evil as the death of a few murderers to stop the much greater evil of the murder of a thousand innocents?

    God bless,

    Carson

    [ March 05, 2002, 07:32 PM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  8. Carson Weber

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    NB: If the seal of confession was allowed to be broken in such instances, the confession of the sinner would never be made in the first place.
     
  9. Joseph_Botwinick

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    The implications are that a little child is going to continue to live a life being raped by a Catholic priest with the approval of the church (in my mind...silence is consent). This child will probably grow up hating God and the Church. But hey, we protected the confidentiallity of a pedophile. Horray!!!!!!

    Also, I have another question for you:

    Considering that approximately 4,400 children are silently murdered by both their mothers and abortion doctors in the US alone each day, should I kill as many abortion doctors in the United States as I possibly can in order to possibly prevent probably at least a thousand abortions due to my actions? Would it not be better for me to perform such a small evil as the death of a few murderers to stop the much greater evil of the murder of a thousand innocents?

    God bless,

    Carson
    [/QUOTE]

    There is a major difference between the two scenarios. One of these is illegal and there is something the Church can legally do about it. One of these isn't. Can you tell me which is which? Also, it is not as if most Christian denominations have been silent about the truth of the unborn and haven't exposed the gross injustice. They have. But, there is something that the Church could have legally done to prevent one of these injustices. To compare murdering an abortion doctor to breaking confidence of a pedophile is very illogical and silly. But I understand that you have to defend the indefensable at all cost since it came from the infallible Catholic Church.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  10. Carson Weber

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    Hi Joseph,

    I will take your avoidance of the former question as a "no", and will assume that, in this case, you are engaging in dialogue with what is called "bad will".

    There is very little reason for me to continue discussion with one who is disinterested in what I have to say and includes antagonisms to evoke emotional dispute (e.g. "defend the indefensable at all cost since it came from the infallible Catholic Church.").

    I would like to share a beautiful Scripture verse with you that has admonished my posting habits in the past. 2 Pet 1:5-7 - "For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."

    God bless,

    Carson

    [ March 05, 2002, 07:50 PM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  11. tulpje

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    There have to be exeptions to the rule. What if Jeffery Dahlmer went to confession...

    It says this my small Catechism:
    Individual Confession and Forgiveness:
    The confession made by the penitent is protected from disclosure. The pastor is obligated to respect at all times the confidential nature of confession. The Pastor greets the penitent when the penitent has knelt and the pastor begins:

    The other question raised here is why do so many priests rape children?
     
  12. DojoGrant

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    Why do many non-priests rape children? Don't try to jump to conclusions because something scandalous is in the press.

    As for the other, we discussed in RCIA that a priest can not be suppenaed (spelling is wrong, I know) to court to testify; if something was told as a confession (not general conversation), they are not obliged to say anything. It's the same with your psychiatrist.
     
  13. Carson Weber

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    NB: One of the requirements for a valid sacrament of penance is "imperfect contrition", which includes the sincere desire for metanoia. If one intends to continue in the confessed sin, the sacrament does not take place.
     
  14. tulpje

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    No, you never hear about Lutheran ministers raping children. Only Catholic priests. If you ask me that news, if it were news, would be just as worthy. It's because they aren't allowed to get married and have normal sexual relations.
     
  15. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Actually, I think it is because they know there isn't any accountability for their actions just as long as they confide in a fellow priest in the confession booth. In other words, they know they can get away with it.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  16. KeeperOfMyHome

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    Not that this sort of thing doesn't happen within other denominations, but it is disturbing that it happens so often within the RCC.

    Joseph, I feel your frustration in that children can be so violated, and yet the priest is the one who is protected! It is truly sickening.

    (Mark 9:42 KJV) And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

    I say that it will be more than the priest who will answer for his crime! Anyone who knows of his horrid activities and does nothing to stop it is just as guilty.

    Julia
     
  17. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    Can anyone show me one place in the Bible where the word priest is used in reference to an individual that we are supposed to confess our sins to? I know in James it says we are to confess our faults to each other. The Scripture says all believers are priests. It is very inconsistent for the Roman Catholic Church to retain the priesthood while discarding all the other elements of the Levitical system.

    When Christ cried from the cross "it is finished" the vail of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom indicating an end to the Levitical system, including going to God through a priest!
     
  18. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    Mr. Weber,
    Why do you always expect us to run to your links to the catholic encyclopedia as if some light is going to go off in our heads after we read it. Do you really think I will get an objective opinion there? It would be like me telling you to read something from Boettners "Roman Catholicism" or one of Jack Chick's Alberto comics, or Peter Ruckmans "Rome, The Great Private Interpreter".
     
  19. Carson Weber

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    Hi Joseph,

    You wrote, "Actually, I think it is because they know there isn't any accountability for their actions just as long as they confide in a fellow priest in the confession booth. In other words, they know they can get away with it."

    You are severly incorrect. Without contrition, the sacrament of penance is invalid, as I have already posted on this board.

    It is fairly evident that you have a particular prejudice against the Catholic Church and her practices, but I do suggest that you respect the information that is provided for you on this board, and that you respond accurately and fairly according to what is given you. If you fail to do this, you are committing sin, and I would rather we not sin on a Christian web board.

    Hi Julia,

    The Catholic Church, as a whole, does not want to protect those who violate the positive law from the full consequences of that law.

    Hi Ps104,

    You may refer to me by "Carson". [​IMG]

    We're all priests. Catholics call presbyters "priests" because that's what they are: ministerial priests (they minister by sharing in the authority of the head of the body, who is Jesus). You may call me a priest if you wish; that is, I'm a priest by virtue of my baptism because I share in the authority of the body of Christ, who is Jesus.

    Presbyters were given authority to forgive sin in John 20:21-23 as you have already been shown on this web board.

    Re: the tearing of the veil, this designated the profanation of the Jerusalem Temple, which means that it was no longer a "Temple" thereafter. The Temple then became the Church (both corporate and as individual believers whose bodies are temples), which is the Temple of the New Covenant.

    The reason I refer to the Catholic Encyclopedia is to save from typing the information myself. The two paragraphs that I quoted earlier in this thread give the objective reason for the Seal of Confession, and it is a very good reason, but you will not know that until you actually read the information for yourself. If you do not read the information, then you are failing to engage in the whole of the dialogue, thereby rejecting particular information to remain in ignorance, and this is called "bad will" and the resulting mode of action is called "bad conscience". When one acts out of bad will or bad conscience, one commits sin.

    God bless,

    Carson

    "It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it."

    [ March 05, 2002, 09:58 PM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  20. DojoGrant

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    The Catholic Encylopedia is a reference book (website version too). Jack Chick is hateful. He's tracks deeply upset me because of the hate. Jack Chick is nothink like an encylopedia, and you associating TCE with it is plainly wrong and unjustified. It's purpose is not to convert or turn people from their ways. It's open and honest and SIMPLY print information on a page.
     

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