Author Topic: Sacrosanctity of Orthodox confessions and confessors  (Read 20232 times)

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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Sacrosanctity of Orthodox confessions and confessors
« Reply #45 on: May 06, 2009, 03:12:16 AM »

The sacrament of confession is open to all baptized and chrismated orthodox christians.  Maybe they should avail themselves of this fact, instead of just venting online and etc. 

Interesting thought..... if a Christian reveals in Confession an illegal act by another (theft, murder, bigamy, tax fraud, sexual abuse, whatever) and tells the priest that he is free to reveal this information publically, does the priest have a moral obligation to report to the appropriate civil or eclesiastical authority what he has been given permssion to reveal?

I would say that what is in said in confession is sealed by that sacrament.  If the person has TOLD the priest that it's a publicly known fact, then that same person should just tell the police.  If it's public, then there isn't even a problem of "selling the person out" because it is public anyway.  I believe the question was (in this topic) if the case is private and etc. 

Also, that comment was from another thread where I was saying that people should go to confession instead of venting online.  If they have gone to confession about what has happened to them or what they have done, then it is between them and their spiritual fathers.  Now if their spiritual fathers have TOLD them to go and say something publicly, those people could be called to account for their spiritual directions (by their bishop, who at this point is an auxiliary bishop with no more authority to do such things).  It's a catch 22 at this point. 
I understand that the discussion in the last two posts originated in the Decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch, since it was I who moved the tangent over here.  However, I moved the tangent here to separate the two unrelated discussions and keep each from derailing the other.  I ask you, therefore, to note that this thread is for the discussion of the sacrosanctity of Orthodox confessions and the other thread is for the discussion of the decision of the Antiochian Synod.  I just had to move a couple of posts from this thread back to the Synod of Antioch thread because they dealt with that subject and not with this.  Please review your posts more carefully to make sure you submit them to the proper thread.  Thank you.
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Online Asteriktos

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Re: Sacrosanctity of Orthodox confessions and confessors
« Reply #46 on: May 09, 2011, 02:38:37 PM »
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 02:39:25 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Sacrosanctity of Orthodox confessions and confessors
« Reply #47 on: May 09, 2011, 03:00:15 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Spiritually that is the very intention of Orthodox, however the legalities and circumstances change politically from place to place, time to time.  In Ethiopia for instance, we in the Ethiopian Orthodox have had a hard time re-instituting the Confession because the horrendous history of the past 50 years of blood civil war and strife has tainted people's view of their Confessors.  There are many horror stories but in reality they are a minority.  It was not that all the Ethiopian clergy were suddenly revealing all their confessed secrets to the military or government or warlords, its just that those few who did made it look untrustworthy as a whole to the masses.
When so many sociopolitical and family institutions broke apart, the people have had a hard time assessing what remains true and what has become dangerous.  Its not that priests were revealing secrets so much as just seeing priests and clerics working with the dangerous government or warlords, even if innocently or by coercion, tainted the trust relationship.  It was (and in some places remains) hard to really be able to look at the world with any sense, so the sensibility of priests is equally up for grabs in such a mixed up world.  The Ethiopian Church did not sell her people out so much as the governments and warlords took over civil society, and the Church was left scrambling to survive.  Anything public about the Church in such an environment was viewed with understandable skepticism and doubt.  The people never doubted the Liturgy, but when it came to giving up secrets in Confession that was another matter entirely.  However, Ethiopians are also quite secretive by nature, which has of course influenced people's further mistrust considering the circumstances of chaos and fear that prevailed for so long (and in many ways continue on as ever and even more so)
When even one or two priests (and yes, even ranking Bishops) betrayed the flock to the mercy (well lack thereof :() of the warlords and madmen, the people couldn't help but feel apprehensive.  How has this manifested itself in the Ethiopian community? Even very pious parishioners who seldom miss Divine Liturgy themselves rarely Commune because they Confess even more sporadically because the whole trust relationship had been threatened.  It is a shame really, the priests are actually quite genuine, and we have no more bad apples than any other jurisdictions.

However, what Ethiopian Orthodox does have is a very recent memory of war and violence, and in war often all bets are off.  

I wonder if some of our Eastern Orthodox/Russian Orthodox brethren and sistren have similar histories and experiences with the Office of Confession?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 03:07:35 PM by HabteSelassie »
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