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Author Topic: Confessional  (Read 556 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 03, 2011, 10:25:23 PM »

What happens to the priest if he reveals to others what is confessed to him? Excommunication sounds pretty basic, but what else?
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 10:40:04 PM »

Isn't there grounds as to why a priest should say something to somebody? For example someone commiting a crime to the police?

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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 10:49:31 PM »

A few threads you may wish to read before we continue the discussion here:

Confessor \ Priest confidentiallity
Seal of the confessional
Sacrosanctity of Orthodox confessions and confessors
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2011, 10:42:22 AM »

I've actually heard of this happening at a church about 25 years ago in the Antiochian jurisdiction.

It was a "leak" but kind of unintentional.  The priest actually was physically assaulted by the individual for doing so.  I don't know what happened after that with the Bishop or anything, but this stands out in my mind.

It's also happened a few times in the Roman Catholic church where clergy has been assaulted for revealing some confessions.

Kind of scary actually.  It's a huge burden of silence. 

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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2011, 12:24:25 PM »

Typically, the priest would be defrocked. I've heard that from just about every source I've encountered on the subject. After that, the bishop could possibly prescribe a penance (temporary excommunication).

As far as when a priest can and can't reveal a confession, and under what circumstances...I don't think there's a universal concensus. I've heard from some churches that a priest can and should never reveal anything in any way. I've heard that if a crime is confessed, the priest can inform authorities.

My priest has spoken about confession a few times, both casually with a group (after service at coffee hour, etc.) and formally at catachism classes, and he says the tradition he's received and follows is a middle-of-the-road approach. He cannot reveal a crime already committed, but would prescribe penance until the person turned him/herself into authorities. If one confesses that they are seriously struggling with commiting a criminial act, but has not yet, he could warn the potential victim(s), without revealing details, and attempt to prevent the act from occuring without breaking the seal of confession.

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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 03:35:32 PM »

IMHO they should be defrocked/laicized and excommunicated with penance.  Yes, it is a huge burden of silence, but if they're not able to bear it they shouldn't hear confessions.

If I even thought for a minute that a priest I was confessing to would share that material in any way other than an extremely general and vague manner, they'd never see me again.

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