OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 22, 2014, 09:23:16 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 3 »  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: When does a priest have the obligation to reveal a confession?  (Read 2630 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,086


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« on: October 21, 2012, 11:03:32 PM »

I'll throw out a Hypothetical.

If there was a girl in her mid teens, such as 15 or 16 who went to confession.  She reveals that she has been romantically involved with a 25 year old man (that she is helping to get off drugs).   She then tells her priest that she is planning on running away the following day with him several states away without telling her parents.

Should the priest reveal to her parents EXACTLY what's up with the potential of losing her trust as an Orthodox Christian?

Or does he have to beat around the bush and be like "I can't reveal anything confessed, but do not let your daughter out of your sight for a while"...
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
Shanghaiski
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 7,964


Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti, Georgia


« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2012, 11:18:02 PM »

My understanding is that priests are obligated NOT to reveal what has been said in confession. But also, usually what is said in confession relates to sin and its cure. So they hypothetical conversation seems a bit irrelevant to the point of confession.

The priest can counsel and the priest can withhold absolution, but the priest should not be meddling even if it appears to be a good idea. Many things appear good, but are actually not. There are very good reasons why confession is secret. Also, there is much advice about not being too detailed in confession.
Logged

Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.
mike
Stratopedarches
**************
Offline Offline

Posts: 21,467


WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 08:18:06 AM »

I was told, he is when one confessed planning to assassinate the tzar.
Logged

Byzantinism
no longer posting here
LizaSymonenko
Слава Ісусу Христу!!! Glory to Jesus Christ!!!
Global Moderator
Toumarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: God's Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Posts: 12,518



WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 09:43:59 AM »


In this situation, I believe it is his responsibility to try and talk some sense in to this young lady, but, other than that, there's not much else he can do.

I do not believe he is at liberty to tell her parents anything that was disclosed in her confession.
Logged

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,116



« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 10:24:29 AM »

Several problems here:

1) a 16-year-old girl does not 'help' an adult male get off drugs.  This constitutes grounds for going to the parents (which can be done without details and with the girl's knowledge/consent).

2) a child's 'trust' is often overly simplistic.  Of course, she will more than likely hate the priest, the same way that most teenagers hate their parents up until they grow up a bit more and discovered that all those 'no' moments were beneficial.

3) if the daughter is acting out in this way, there's a family dynamic that needs to be healed.  This is a much bigger issue.

That being said, we have received specific instructions from our bishop that Confession and its expectations of confidentiality does not cover criminal conduct.  It covers sin.  People confess their sinfulness, and receive absolution, but this absolution does not remove the criminal punishment due from a crime.  The Church has never argued such a point.

However, such revelations are only to be made after consulting the bishop.  A priest can never, ever 'solo' on this one.  The Church has to take care of it, not just a single priest.
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,086


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2012, 10:26:27 PM »

Several problems here:

1) a 16-year-old girl does not 'help' an adult male get off drugs.  This constitutes grounds for going to the parents (which can be done without details and with the girl's knowledge/consent).

2) a child's 'trust' is often overly simplistic.  Of course, she will more than likely hate the priest, the same way that most teenagers hate their parents up until they grow up a bit more and discovered that all those 'no' moments were beneficial.

3) if the daughter is acting out in this way, there's a family dynamic that needs to be healed.  This is a much bigger issue.

That being said, we have received specific instructions from our bishop that Confession and its expectations of confidentiality does not cover criminal conduct.  It covers sin.  People confess their sinfulness, and receive absolution, but this absolution does not remove the criminal punishment due from a crime.  The Church has never argued such a point.

However, such revelations are only to be made after consulting the bishop.  A priest can never, ever 'solo' on this one.  The Church has to take care of it, not just a single priest.


Yes, what you said is how I somewhat understood it....

On your point on #1, if the girl is unwilling to give consent?  I've always understood that if there was an immediate danger that the priest has an obligation to at least warn the parents (without specifics).

If it was my daughter in this situation, I would be furious (at my priest) if I was not at least subtly "hinted at".   (ie "hey your daughter is engaged in a dangerous situation that I can't reveal, but I ask you to not let her out of your sight for a while").

I do not know of one priest that would not be really alarmed and alerted to "talk her out of it".  I'm curious on "immediate danger" and not specifically illegal in nature or even "crimes about to happen". 
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
JamesR
Virginal Chicano Blood
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: On-n-Off
Jurisdiction: OCA (the only truly Canonical American Orthodox Church)
Posts: 5,202


St. Augustine of Hippo pray for me!


« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 11:27:02 PM »

What if the Priest warned the girl while in Confession, giving her an ultimatum? Technically he wouldn't be lying or deceiving her since she knew it was going to happen. Like, say perhaps the Priest tells the girl that if she does not call off her plans to run off with that strange man, then he will inform her parents? Or, if a murderer confesses to murder, the Priest says that if the person in question does not confess to the crime himself, then he is going to do it? Would this be prohibited?
Logged

Quote
You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
Quote
James, you have problemz.
NicholasMyra
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,754


Avowed denominationalist


« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2012, 11:53:38 PM »

That being said, we have received specific instructions from our bishop that Confession and its expectations of confidentiality does not cover criminal conduct.  It covers sin.  People confess their sinfulness, and receive absolution, but this absolution does not remove the criminal punishment due from a crime.  The Church has never argued such a point.
But the Church is not required to actually help do the punishing, right?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 11:53:51 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple."
Tallitot
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Jewish
Jurisdiction: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Posts: 2,573



WWW
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2012, 03:13:09 AM »

Several problems here:

1That being said, we have received specific instructions from our bishop that Confession and its expectations of confidentiality does not cover criminal conduct.  It covers sin.  People confess their sinfulness, and receive absolution, but this absolution does not remove the criminal punishment due from a crime.  The Church has never argued such a point.

However, such revelations are only to be made after consulting the bishop.  A priest can never, ever 'solo' on this one.  The Church has to take care of it, not just a single priest.

Do you warn parishoners before they confess that what they confess may not be confidential?
Logged

Proverbs 22:7
KBN1
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: EO
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 888



« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2012, 09:15:09 AM »

Ok, so the hypothetical situation is a young girl confesses that she is romantically involved with an older man and she is going to run away with him.  By the fact that she is confessing this, she knows it is wrong.  If she didn't think any of her actions were wrong she wouldn't confess them, right?  Sounds like she is begging to be talked out of it and it likely wouldn't take much to do so.  This is nothing but a strawman, Yesh.  I guess trying to get clergy to say they would break the seal of confession, or say that they wouldn't stop a young girl from running off with an older man, no matter how ridiculous the hypothetical situation is, is just too much fun.
Logged
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,116



« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2012, 10:30:24 AM »

We go through this in Catechism, and those raised in the Church know the boundaries.  They don't have the RC absolutist understanding of confession.

Several problems here:

1That being said, we have received specific instructions from our bishop that Confession and its expectations of confidentiality does not cover criminal conduct.  It covers sin.  People confess their sinfulness, and receive absolution, but this absolution does not remove the criminal punishment due from a crime.  The Church has never argued such a point.

However, such revelations are only to be made after consulting the bishop.  A priest can never, ever 'solo' on this one.  The Church has to take care of it, not just a single priest.

Do you warn parishoners before they confess that what they confess may not be confidential?
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,116



« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2012, 10:41:59 AM »

Confession is an act of repentance within a trusting relationship.  I can't imagine a situation where someone would come and be thoroughly sorrowful, then dig their heels in and absolutely refuse a priest's advice.  However, that may have something to do with my reputation: people who come to me known I will not get co-dependent with their sickness.

I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.

Running away from home is not a solution, and so I am not obligated to enable it.  This child is still under the guardianship of her parents, and the only thing she can do is seek emancipation.  If that's what she wants, then I would tell her to persue this in an orderly fashion.  But, no, I'm not going to participate in her endangerment by not telling her parents... but I would insist that she come with me so that we can fix the problem at home and remove the reason she wants to run off to begin with.

If she still refuses... again I'm going to call the bishop or the dean and let those who supervise me know the general situation and the potential for lots of phone calls.  I may get overruled, but that is not my decision to make on my own.


What if the Priest warned the girl while in Confession, giving her an ultimatum? Technically he wouldn't be lying or deceiving her since she knew it was going to happen. Like, say perhaps the Priest tells the girl that if she does not call off her plans to run off with that strange man, then he will inform her parents? Or, if a murderer confesses to murder, the Priest says that if the person in question does not confess to the crime himself, then he is going to do it? Would this be prohibited?
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
FrJohnG
A humble priest, always learning. Formerly known as "SyriacJohn"
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: "Oriental" Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Syriac-Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church
Posts: 5


St. Ephraim of Syria Orthodox Catholic Mission


« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2012, 12:49:51 PM »

I am obligated to keep confidential any and all confessions.
In the case of criminal or possible criminal activity I am obligated to report such things to my Bishop and then drop it.  He will take care of the rest.

Logged

"Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sin and not to judge my brother, for You are blessed from all ages to all ages. Amen”
― St. Ephraim of Syria
KBN1
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: EO
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 888



« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2012, 01:00:43 PM »

Ok, so the hypothetical situation is a young girl confesses that she is romantically involved with an older man and she is going to run away with him.  By the fact that she is confessing this, she knows it is wrong.  If she didn't think any of her actions were wrong she wouldn't confess them, right?  Sounds like she is begging to be talked out of it and it likely wouldn't take much to do so.  This is nothing but a strawman, Yesh.  I guess trying to get clergy to say they would break the seal of confession, or say that they wouldn't stop a young girl from running off with an older man, no matter how ridiculous the hypothetical situation is, is just too much fun.

On second thought, that was really snarky of me.  I apologize.
Logged
JamesRottnek
Protokentarchos
*********
Online Online

Faith: Anglican
Jurisdiction: Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Posts: 5,103


I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine


« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2012, 03:45:01 PM »

We go through this in Catechism, and those raised in the Church know the boundaries.  They don't have the RC absolutist understanding of confession.

Several problems here:

1That being said, we have received specific instructions from our bishop that Confession and its expectations of confidentiality does not cover criminal conduct.  It covers sin.  People confess their sinfulness, and receive absolution, but this absolution does not remove the criminal punishment due from a crime.  The Church has never argued such a point.

However, such revelations are only to be made after consulting the bishop.  A priest can never, ever 'solo' on this one.  The Church has to take care of it, not just a single priest.

Do you warn parishoners before they confess that what they confess may not be confidential?

Fr., I know quite a few people who were raised in the Church, and many more people who were received as adults, who DO believe in the "RC absolutist understanding of confession," more or less.
Logged

I know a secret about a former Supreme Court Justice.  Can you guess what it is?

The greatest tragedy in the world is when a cigarette ends.

American Spirits - the eco-friendly cigarette.

Preston Robert Kinney (September 8th, 1997-August 14, 2011
JamesRottnek
Protokentarchos
*********
Online Online

Faith: Anglican
Jurisdiction: Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Posts: 5,103


I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine


« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2012, 03:47:15 PM »



I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.




What of a situation with the murder happened two decades ago, and the murderer has the responsibility, now, of supporting three kids?  Would you still see no way a person could genuinely repent and still refuse to turn himself in?
Logged

I know a secret about a former Supreme Court Justice.  Can you guess what it is?

The greatest tragedy in the world is when a cigarette ends.

American Spirits - the eco-friendly cigarette.

Preston Robert Kinney (September 8th, 1997-August 14, 2011
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,116



« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2012, 08:02:27 PM »

So, what you are saying is, if I avoid punishment long enough, then the crime should just be forgotten?




I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.




What of a situation with the murder happened two decades ago, and the murderer has the responsibility, now, of supporting three kids?  Would you still see no way a person could genuinely repent and still refuse to turn himself in?
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,181


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2012, 08:19:56 PM »

My spiritual father told me once "if you come to me for confession for some kind of hard illegal crime, and I give you the spiritual advice to turn yourself in, and you did not listen, then you never took the act of confession seriously or did not understand it in it's proper context" 

Just a thought. 
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
JamesRottnek
Protokentarchos
*********
Online Online

Faith: Anglican
Jurisdiction: Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Posts: 5,103


I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine


« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2012, 08:51:25 PM »

So, what you are saying is, if I avoid punishment long enough, then the crime should just be forgotten?




I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.




What of a situation with the murder happened two decades ago, and the murderer has the responsibility, now, of supporting three kids?  Would you still see no way a person could genuinely repent and still refuse to turn himself in?

No, I am saying that in such a circumstance, if the murderer were to turn themselves in, suddenly three children are going to suffer, a great deal, because of something that happened twenty years ago.
Logged

I know a secret about a former Supreme Court Justice.  Can you guess what it is?

The greatest tragedy in the world is when a cigarette ends.

American Spirits - the eco-friendly cigarette.

Preston Robert Kinney (September 8th, 1997-August 14, 2011
Shanghaiski
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 7,964


Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti, Georgia


« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2012, 09:46:37 PM »

So, what you are saying is, if I avoid punishment long enough, then the crime should just be forgotten?




I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.




What of a situation with the murder happened two decades ago, and the murderer has the responsibility, now, of supporting three kids?  Would you still see no way a person could genuinely repent and still refuse to turn himself in?

No, I am saying that in such a circumstance, if the murderer were to turn themselves in, suddenly three children are going to suffer, a great deal, because of something that happened twenty years ago.

Suffering is inevitable in life, both for those who do evil and those who do good, and for innocent bystanders.

There is no statute of limitations for murder in the civil laws. If he killed someone, there are people looking for him. Further, innocent persons may have been harmed in the search for him.

I can't see how a priest can, in good conscience, not encourage someone who confesses to such a crime to turn himself in and humbly face the consequences.
Logged

Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.
HabteSelassie
Ises and I-ity
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Posts: 3,332



« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2012, 10:12:07 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

"When does a priest have the obligation to reveal a confession?"



That is an excellent question.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 10:12:33 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
Shiny
Site Supporter
Muted
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2012, 10:14:30 PM »

So, what you are saying is, if I avoid punishment long enough, then the crime should just be forgotten?




I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.




What of a situation with the murder happened two decades ago, and the murderer has the responsibility, now, of supporting three kids?  Would you still see no way a person could genuinely repent and still refuse to turn himself in?

No, I am saying that in such a circumstance, if the murderer were to turn themselves in, suddenly three children are going to suffer, a great deal, because of something that happened twenty years ago.
Then that's on the murderer who would cause his three children to suffer, maybe I'm missing something here.
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,086


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2012, 11:51:43 PM »

So, what you are saying is, if I avoid punishment long enough, then the crime should just be forgotten?




I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.




What of a situation with the murder happened two decades ago, and the murderer has the responsibility, now, of supporting three kids?  Would you still see no way a person could genuinely repent and still refuse to turn himself in?

No, I am saying that in such a circumstance, if the murderer were to turn themselves in, suddenly three children are going to suffer, a great deal, because of something that happened twenty years ago.
Then that's on the murderer who would cause his three children to suffer, maybe I'm missing something here.

I think the point here was that the murderer now has "a different life", far from what it was when it happened.

I'll throw out another hypothetical.

A man is 48 years old, and has been an Orthodox Christian since birth.   He fell away from the church in his late teens in a rebellious teenage manner.  He stole a car one day..... Before long he started to break into houses just stealing TV's and stereo equipment (he was 18 now).  He did this 3 times an got away with it.   On the 4th time he didn't realize somebody was in the home.   They blocked the doorway while calling the police.  The kid said "let me out our I'll beat you up".   The person did not let them out, and the 18 year old punched them 4 time knocking them over.   The person died of a brain aneurysm.

The person at the age of 20, saw the errors of his way, repented, and got back into the church they have been with most of their life.  At 22, he marries on of the ladies in the church.   They grow together in the church, have 3 children through the years all baptized in the church.

At 48, the man confesses this to his priest.

He states "I did not mean to cause death, I just wanted to get out of the house... I just meant to punch him to move him out of the way"....

Legally, HE'S TOAST.

The priest knows the family and has for 2 decades.  He knows the love and care that the family provides for the children.

So is the priest going to say "Now go to the police and/or I will go with you"?
The priest knows he's the sole bread winner and is a great Father to his children, and great husband to his wife.

To me this is very complicated as well.   There may be people "looking for him", and he did it, but is this worth the man destroying his entire family, wife, and children?

What if the man simply REFUSED to go to the police even if the priest suggests it?  Saying "I'm not going to hurt my wife and children, they will place me behind bars for the rest of my life".  "I would never do anything of that sort...."

Does the priest just go to the cops then? 
Does the bishop?

My personal feeling would be that the man he killed was in a crime but accidental an he's been a good person and lifelong parishoner.... I would definitely talk to him at length about his crime, but I would definitely say the prayers of absolution and let it be done.

Covering up?
Wasting taxpayers dollars?
Breaching confidentiality?

I dunno Smiley
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
JamesRottnek
Protokentarchos
*********
Online Online

Faith: Anglican
Jurisdiction: Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Posts: 5,103


I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine


« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2012, 12:08:47 AM »

So, what you are saying is, if I avoid punishment long enough, then the crime should just be forgotten?




I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.




What of a situation with the murder happened two decades ago, and the murderer has the responsibility, now, of supporting three kids?  Would you still see no way a person could genuinely repent and still refuse to turn himself in?

No, I am saying that in such a circumstance, if the murderer were to turn themselves in, suddenly three children are going to suffer, a great deal, because of something that happened twenty years ago.
Then that's on the murderer who would cause his three children to suffer, maybe I'm missing something here.

I think the point here was that the murderer now has "a different life", far from what it was when it happened.

I'll throw out another hypothetical.

A man is 48 years old, and has been an Orthodox Christian since birth.   He fell away from the church in his late teens in a rebellious teenage manner.  He stole a car one day..... Before long he started to break into houses just stealing TV's and stereo equipment (he was 18 now).  He did this 3 times an got away with it.   On the 4th time he didn't realize somebody was in the home.   They blocked the doorway while calling the police.  The kid said "let me out our I'll beat you up".   The person did not let them out, and the 18 year old punched them 4 time knocking them over.   The person died of a brain aneurysm.

The person at the age of 20, saw the errors of his way, repented, and got back into the church they have been with most of their life.  At 22, he marries on of the ladies in the church.   They grow together in the church, have 3 children through the years all baptized in the church.

At 48, the man confesses this to his priest.

He states "I did not mean to cause death, I just wanted to get out of the house... I just meant to punch him to move him out of the way"....

Legally, HE'S TOAST.

The priest knows the family and has for 2 decades.  He knows the love and care that the family provides for the children.

So is the priest going to say "Now go to the police and/or I will go with you"?
The priest knows he's the sole bread winner and is a great Father to his children, and great husband to his wife.

To me this is very complicated as well.   There may be people "looking for him", and he did it, but is this worth the man destroying his entire family, wife, and children?

What if the man simply REFUSED to go to the police even if the priest suggests it?  Saying "I'm not going to hurt my wife and children, they will place me behind bars for the rest of my life".  "I would never do anything of that sort...."

Does the priest just go to the cops then? 
Does the bishop?

My personal feeling would be that the man he killed was in a crime but accidental an he's been a good person and lifelong parishoner.... I would definitely talk to him at length about his crime, but I would definitely say the prayers of absolution and let it be done.

Covering up?
Wasting taxpayers dollars?
Breaching confidentiality?

I dunno Smiley


Well, actually my point was more: is it really right to just say "Well, he committed a crime, so he really ought to be off to jail," even if that means that, say, three children are suddenly thrown into the foster care system where they may well be physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abused, because of a serious mistake their father made twenty years before?  Is that really justified?  Personally, I think the priest would be at least partially responsible for any harm that may befall the children because he caused their father to go to prison.
Logged

I know a secret about a former Supreme Court Justice.  Can you guess what it is?

The greatest tragedy in the world is when a cigarette ends.

American Spirits - the eco-friendly cigarette.

Preston Robert Kinney (September 8th, 1997-August 14, 2011
akimori makoto
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Non-heretical Christian
Jurisdiction: Fully-sik-hektic archdiocese of Australia, bro
Posts: 3,126

No-one bound by fleshly pleasures is worthy ...


« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2012, 12:32:38 AM »

So, what you are saying is, if I avoid punishment long enough, then the crime should just be forgotten?




I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.




What of a situation with the murder happened two decades ago, and the murderer has the responsibility, now, of supporting three kids?  Would you still see no way a person could genuinely repent and still refuse to turn himself in?

No, I am saying that in such a circumstance, if the murderer were to turn themselves in, suddenly three children are going to suffer, a great deal, because of something that happened twenty years ago.
Then that's on the murderer who would cause his three children to suffer, maybe I'm missing something here.

I think the point here was that the murderer now has "a different life", far from what it was when it happened.

I'll throw out another hypothetical.

A man is 48 years old, and has been an Orthodox Christian since birth.   He fell away from the church in his late teens in a rebellious teenage manner.  He stole a car one day..... Before long he started to break into houses just stealing TV's and stereo equipment (he was 18 now).  He did this 3 times an got away with it.   On the 4th time he didn't realize somebody was in the home.   They blocked the doorway while calling the police.  The kid said "let me out our I'll beat you up".   The person did not let them out, and the 18 year old punched them 4 time knocking them over.   The person died of a brain aneurysm.

The person at the age of 20, saw the errors of his way, repented, and got back into the church they have been with most of their life.  At 22, he marries on of the ladies in the church.   They grow together in the church, have 3 children through the years all baptized in the church.

At 48, the man confesses this to his priest.

He states "I did not mean to cause death, I just wanted to get out of the house... I just meant to punch him to move him out of the way"....

Legally, HE'S TOAST.

The priest knows the family and has for 2 decades.  He knows the love and care that the family provides for the children.

So is the priest going to say "Now go to the police and/or I will go with you"?
The priest knows he's the sole bread winner and is a great Father to his children, and great husband to his wife.

To me this is very complicated as well.   There may be people "looking for him", and he did it, but is this worth the man destroying his entire family, wife, and children?

What if the man simply REFUSED to go to the police even if the priest suggests it?  Saying "I'm not going to hurt my wife and children, they will place me behind bars for the rest of my life".  "I would never do anything of that sort...."

Does the priest just go to the cops then? 
Does the bishop?

My personal feeling would be that the man he killed was in a crime but accidental an he's been a good person and lifelong parishoner.... I would definitely talk to him at length about his crime, but I would definitely say the prayers of absolution and let it be done.

Covering up?
Wasting taxpayers dollars?
Breaching confidentiality?

I dunno Smiley


Well, actually my point was more: is it really right to just say "Well, he committed a crime, so he really ought to be off to jail," even if that means that, say, three children are suddenly thrown into the foster care system where they may well be physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abused, because of a serious mistake their father made twenty years before?  Is that really justified?  Personally, I think the priest would be at least partially responsible for any harm that may befall the children because he caused their father to go to prison.

I'm not sure that is fair.

If the victim of a rape complains of it twenty years later and thereby contributes to similar outcomes for her rapist to those experienced by your hypothetical murderer, does he/she bear some responsibility for the harm that might be done to the rapist's children?
Logged

The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,116



« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2012, 11:08:39 AM »

We call that "Original Sin" in another context...

So, what you are saying is, if I avoid punishment long enough, then the crime should just be forgotten?




I can't think of a reason a murderer would come to confession with a genuine desire to repent and yet would refuse to turn himself in.  If he comes, I assume that he wants encouragement to do the right thing, and that is what I will do.  By the end of the conversation, one way or another, the right thing will be done.  I won't sneak, I will tell him that we can go together and he will have my support... but we have to go.




What of a situation with the murder happened two decades ago, and the murderer has the responsibility, now, of supporting three kids?  Would you still see no way a person could genuinely repent and still refuse to turn himself in?

No, I am saying that in such a circumstance, if the murderer were to turn themselves in, suddenly three children are going to suffer, a great deal, because of something that happened twenty years ago.
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,116



« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2012, 11:19:14 AM »

Yet, all of these thing are built upon the foundation of a lie.  He committed a crime, and only by avoiding the due punishment was he able to amass all that he had.  If he really thought he deserved such things, he would be spiritually deluded to boot.

People do such dreadful things all the time.  They draw innocent lives into their webs.  He was dishonest from the get-go, and you cannot fall for the "Keeping Up Appearances" approach to human sin: many of the worst sinners look like upstanding gentlemen, and can greatly deceive even themselves.

He never repented because he never gave justice to the one who's life he took and was deprived of the blessings fo that life.  The victim is forgotten by this standard.  All we really need to do is make a good façade and all is forgiven, right?

If we are going to dispense justice based on how long the criminal escapes justice and makes a 'better life for himself' afterwards, then the prisons would be empty and every arrest would be a shoot-out. 

Families are injured by the sins of the father all the time.  Such things may be considered at sentencing, but they are not part of the determination of guilt and conviction.


I think the point here was that the murderer now has "a different life", far from what it was when it happened.

I'll throw out another hypothetical.

A man is 48 years old, and has been an Orthodox Christian since birth.   He fell away from the church in his late teens in a rebellious teenage manner.  He stole a car one day..... Before long he started to break into houses just stealing TV's and stereo equipment (he was 18 now).  He did this 3 times an got away with it.   On the 4th time he didn't realize somebody was in the home.   They blocked the doorway while calling the police.  The kid said "let me out our I'll beat you up".   The person did not let them out, and the 18 year old punched them 4 time knocking them over.   The person died of a brain aneurysm.

The person at the age of 20, saw the errors of his way, repented, and got back into the church they have been with most of their life.  At 22, he marries on of the ladies in the church.   They grow together in the church, have 3 children through the years all baptized in the church.

At 48, the man confesses this to his priest.

He states "I did not mean to cause death, I just wanted to get out of the house... I just meant to punch him to move him out of the way"....

Legally, HE'S TOAST.

The priest knows the family and has for 2 decades.  He knows the love and care that the family provides for the children.

So is the priest going to say "Now go to the police and/or I will go with you"?
The priest knows he's the sole bread winner and is a great Father to his children, and great husband to his wife.

To me this is very complicated as well.   There may be people "looking for him", and he did it, but is this worth the man destroying his entire family, wife, and children?

What if the man simply REFUSED to go to the police even if the priest suggests it?  Saying "I'm not going to hurt my wife and children, they will place me behind bars for the rest of my life".  "I would never do anything of that sort...."

Does the priest just go to the cops then? 
Does the bishop?

My personal feeling would be that the man he killed was in a crime but accidental an he's been a good person and lifelong parishoner.... I would definitely talk to him at length about his crime, but I would definitely say the prayers of absolution and let it be done.

Covering up?
Wasting taxpayers dollars?
Breaching confidentiality?

I dunno Smiley

Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Online Online

Faith: BZZT
Posts: 29,220


« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2012, 11:36:42 AM »

I find it confusing that the things being said in this thread about priests breaking the seal of confession completely goes against what priests have said in earlier threads...
Logged
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,116



« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2012, 11:59:19 AM »

Welcome to the Orthodox Church... the last bastion against Organized Religion.   Wink

I find it confusing that the things being said in this thread about priests breaking the seal of confession completely goes against what priests have said in earlier threads...
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
Ioannis Climacus
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 863


"There is no religion higher than TRUTH"


« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2012, 12:03:43 PM »

I find it confusing that the things being said in this thread about priests breaking the seal of confession completely goes against what priests have said in earlier threads...
It goes against everything I have been taught as well. I have had two regular confessors in my life and both have informed me of the strict confidentiality of confession - down to even the most heinous of crimes.

I have always been bothered by the whole "turn yourself in" condition for absolution. It makes me wonder if such confessors would have sent St. Moses the Ethiopian to the "proper authorities" so as to see him executed for his crimes.
Logged

Note : Many of my posts (especially the ones antedating late 2012) do not reflect charity, tact, or even views I presently hold. Please forgive me for any antagonism I have caused.
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,461


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2012, 12:07:04 PM »

I find it confusing that the things being said in this thread about priests breaking the seal of confession completely goes against what priests have said in earlier threads...

What threads?  I recall Fr. A and Fr. Chris both saying there was no absolute seal in Orthodoxy like there is in RCism.
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Online Online

Faith: BZZT
Posts: 29,220


« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2012, 12:17:51 PM »

I find it confusing that the things being said in this thread about priests breaking the seal of confession completely goes against what priests have said in earlier threads...

What threads?  I recall Fr. A and Fr. Chris both saying there was no absolute seal in Orthodoxy like there is in RCism.

We've had threads about it since then, but this one is the one I remembered most. For example, in it Fr. Chris says:

Nothing told to Christ in Confession and witnessed by me can be divulged. Full stop.

However, there is always the counseling after the confession. Yes, if/when criminal activity is confessed, I do my best to reinforce to the penitent the importance of being repentant, part of which is setting the record straight.

Yes, I've driven children to stores to apologize to the store owner for stealing something, but it's the child who does all the talking; I say nothing.

If a person confesses something criminal to me that would be such as murder, child molestation, etc I would do all I could to help the penitent go to the legal authorities and help the victim or family have peace of mind. Thank God nothing like that has occurred yet....I have enough trouble with 'incense getting in my eyes' when hearing the pain caused to my parishioners from "every day" sins, and nothing as demonic as violent crime.

But, nothing said in Confession can be divulged. Ever.
Logged
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,116



« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2012, 12:32:41 PM »

This isn't a matter of dogma, and so bishops can set the standard of interpretation of the canons in this regard.  Some bishops will say, "This is the Orthodox way," while others will say, "That is the Orthodox way."  The truth is, a priest can go through his entire career without ever having one of these situations.  He will only make a mistake if he does not ask for help in unusual or difficult situations.

The one thing I have realized in my time as a priest is that absolute statements starting with words like 'never' are very dangerous, just like 'always.'  I had a long list of them when I got out of seminary.  Nowadays, I don't know where that list went.

We are not here to keep rules and laws, but heal people and lead them to Christ.  Sometimes you break the sabbath, but most of the time you keep it.  The canons are not absolutes (except dogmas), and the bishops can grant economias as they see fit.


I find it confusing that the things being said in this thread about priests breaking the seal of confession completely goes against what priests have said in earlier threads...

What threads?  I recall Fr. A and Fr. Chris both saying there was no absolute seal in Orthodoxy like there is in RCism.

We've had threads about it since then, but this one is the one I remembered most. For example, in it Fr. Chris says:

Nothing told to Christ in Confession and witnessed by me can be divulged. Full stop.

However, there is always the counseling after the confession. Yes, if/when criminal activity is confessed, I do my best to reinforce to the penitent the importance of being repentant, part of which is setting the record straight.

Yes, I've driven children to stores to apologize to the store owner for stealing something, but it's the child who does all the talking; I say nothing.

If a person confesses something criminal to me that would be such as murder, child molestation, etc I would do all I could to help the penitent go to the legal authorities and help the victim or family have peace of mind. Thank God nothing like that has occurred yet....I have enough trouble with 'incense getting in my eyes' when hearing the pain caused to my parishioners from "every day" sins, and nothing as demonic as violent crime.

But, nothing said in Confession can be divulged. Ever.
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,461


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2012, 12:35:33 PM »

I find it confusing that the things being said in this thread about priests breaking the seal of confession completely goes against what priests have said in earlier threads...

What threads?  I recall Fr. A and Fr. Chris both saying there was no absolute seal in Orthodoxy like there is in RCism.

We've had threads about it since then, but this one is the one I remembered most. For example, in it Fr. Chris says:

Nothing told to Christ in Confession and witnessed by me can be divulged. Full stop.

However, there is always the counseling after the confession. Yes, if/when criminal activity is confessed, I do my best to reinforce to the penitent the importance of being repentant, part of which is setting the record straight.

Yes, I've driven children to stores to apologize to the store owner for stealing something, but it's the child who does all the talking; I say nothing.

If a person confesses something criminal to me that would be such as murder, child molestation, etc I would do all I could to help the penitent go to the legal authorities and help the victim or family have peace of mind. Thank God nothing like that has occurred yet....I have enough trouble with 'incense getting in my eyes' when hearing the pain caused to my parishioners from "every day" sins, and nothing as demonic as violent crime.

But, nothing said in Confession can be divulged. Ever.

Oh, you're right, I see.  That's the one I was thinking of, too.  I remembered it wrong.

Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Ephraim.ID
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 19



« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2012, 11:03:57 PM »

This has been an interesting conversation.  I would like to add a few comments or thoughts to it. 

There is a tone in the thread that I find particularly disturbing, and I hope I can elucidate the reasons why.  One of the things that attracted me to the Church is the fairly clear understand of Orthodoxy as a therapeia, in other words, the focus on salvation as a healing of the soul (and body).  The salvific message in Orthodoxy, as I have been taught, is focused on that rather than ensuring "justice."  In fact, the prayers of the Church, and the writings of several saints, cry out to God *not* to judge, because if He were in fact to *judge* rightly, none would be saved.

My point here is that the focus of the Church is not about dishing out, or even supporting necessarily, civil laws and punishments.  The focus of the church is the healing and salvation of people, and I would submit that "paying the penalty" is often not a part of that.  So, what does a criminal, murderer or otherwise, need?  He needs to engage in the life of Christ, to enter into the Church, to commune, to pray, to fast, to work out his salvation with fear and trembling, not necessarily to be sent to jail.

Before I conclude, I want to look at this in the light of our rich heritage and Holy Tradition.  How many examples do we have of criminals, vile murderers in some cases, fleeing to the Church for refuge?  How many Saints do we have who hid in monasteries and in the Church from criminal authorities?  Murderers, baby-killers, thieves, etc.  St. Dionysius, for example, hid a man fleeing from authorities.  As it turns out, the murderer had killed Dionysius' own brother.  He did *not* surrender him to the law, but rather taught him repentance.  His eye was not on the eternal, not the temporary. (And the murderer eventually repented and became a monk).  St. Moses the Black, another example of a criminal who fled to the Church, was hidden there, and later repented, became a monk (and a priest even), and a saint.  There is another, whose name slips my mind at the moment, who committed murder, fled to a monastery, repented and hid there for decades.  Then, at some point, based on his own conviction and under his own volition, turned himself in to the authorities (and, as I recall, was subsequently executed).

There are other examples of this as well, of "love covering a multitude of sins" and the primary goal of the church being repentance, not some modern civil notion that when one commits a crime that they must "pay the penalty" to society.  Turning oneself in is not a necessary step to repentance, as illustrated by the above examples of saints.  One could make this argument even more abstract, in that if a man confesses to murder, the priest walks him to the police station, he is then arrested and put in jail with other criminals, eventually convicted (because he outright confessed) and is given the death penalty (another aspect of this conversation that should be considered), and is executed a short time later.  Where, in all of that, is repentance really considered, from the Church's standpoint?  This idea that one must pay the penalty, the debt they now owe, rubs me the wrong way, when considering Orthodoxy.

It is with that in mind that I go to confession, and teach my children to go to confession.  And that confession, with the priest present, is to Christ.  I am bothered when I hear a priest says something like "If you do not do what I say in confession, then you must not really be sorry, so then it wasn't a legitimate confession and I can tell whoever I want." (I have heard this from a priest before, not in my own confession, but in a general conversation about confession).  Priests should, in confession, considering everything, give the medicine that will best help the person come to true repentance and salvation.  At times, I would imagine that includes telling someone to turn oneself in to the authorities.  But, the priest is not an arm of the state, nor is he a police officer.  I do not believe his job is to enforce civil law, but to help bring the penitent to salvation.  And in that realm, dealing with the eternal soul, one must feel safe to go to the priest, their doctor, and discuss their illnesses. 

If one wants to look to civil law, the Seal of Confession is protected.  I have spoken with several priests who say that they understand the seal of confession is inviolable (I will post one next). Even if one refuses the medicine (+Kyrie Eleison), who knows what the future will bring.  The last thing I will say, in my rather lengthy post, is that I read a story on my way into the Church that helped shape my view on this, whether true or not, I do not know.  It is the story of a Russian priest.  A man, wearing a long black coat, comes to the house of the priest to confess a murder he had just committed.  The man, in his fear, while waiting inside for the priest, drops the bloody knife into the priests black coat.  The priest comes, hears the confession, but the man leaves unrepentant and unabsolved.  The police come (someone saw the murderer in a black coat run to this house).  When they arrive, they see the priest's coat and find the bloody knife.  The priest is arrested, convicted, and spends some 20 years or so in prison before he is released.  He never breaks the seal of confession.  The murderer gets ill and on his deathbed eventually confesses to the crime, absolving the priest.
Logged
Ephraim.ID
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 19



« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2012, 11:06:01 PM »

From an Orthodox priest, via email, name withheld because I have not asked his permission to post this here:

The sacrament of confession is inviolable without exception. There are no conditions attached to this of which I am aware. In the Regulations on the Ecclesiastical Court, it states quite simply:

"Priests found violating the confidentiality of confession are subject to suspension from serving for a period of three years, and in cases of repetition of this offense are to be defrocked."

No conditions - no special cases - no exceptions; just the above statement.

Even the state recognizes the inviolability of sacramental confession (the key word in the state's regulations here is "sacramental"). I have done workshops for clergy through the Police Dept. on the mandatory reporting laws. Child abuse is subject to mandatory reporting and pastors fall under those requirements (if we know about it we have to report it or we ourselves become liable) The one exception to this reporting requirement is if we discover this within sacramental confession. The confessor is NOT required by the state to violate the confidentiality of confession. The training then goes on to discuss how reporting can be facilitated in such situations. (One is for the confessor to require the penitent to self report and then follow up with obtaining consent that if the penitent does not do so within a certain amount of time the priest will either do so on his own or accompany the penitent - but here the penitent is basically "breaking" the seal of confession by granting permission for certain details - not the whole confession - to be repeated in a different venue. The priest cannot do so on his own initiative.)

I think in the "old days" in Russia, there was an exception to the seal of confession requiring the priest to report to the ecclesiastical authorities threats against the Tsar - but that was during the Synodal period when the Church was often treated as an arm or department of the State.

So to recap - in my experience and in all that I have been told, the seal of confession is unconditionally inviolable. The only ways that the priest can bring such things up again outside of confession are if the penitent himself initiates the conversation and reopens the topic (something I suggest sometimes where more involved pastoral counseling would be helpful) or when the penitent during the confession itself grants permission for the priest to say something in another venue (as suggested above).
Logged
celticfan1888
Production Operator - Chemtrusion
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholicism
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of America
Posts: 3,026



« Reply #36 on: October 25, 2012, 11:26:41 PM »

If someone sins, even murder, and goes to confession, the priest shouldn't have a need to tell the police IMHO. If his sins have been absolved, why does he need anything else?

Either you believe in confession or you don't guys.
Logged

Forgive my sins.
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,116



« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2012, 11:22:14 AM »

Again, I would like to emphasize that bishops defrock, and so bishops judge.  If the bishop decides that a priest did the right thing by contacting him about a crime divulged during confession and blessed the priest to go to the police, he will not turn around and depose or suspend said priest.

Confessions can be divulged in some circumstances, but in consultation with the ruling hierarch.  If he says 'no' and the priest does it anyhow, he will be taking a risk with his ministry.

Sorry to disappoint you, but if a child molester were ever to come to me and confess he has been harming children, there will be a visit to the police one way or another.  That may disappoint some of you, but I'd rather sleep at night as a layman than be a priest and bear the misery of innocent children on my conscience.


From an Orthodox priest, via email, name withheld because I have not asked his permission to post this here:

The sacrament of confession is inviolable without exception. There are no conditions attached to this of which I am aware. In the Regulations on the Ecclesiastical Court, it states quite simply:

"Priests found violating the confidentiality of confession are subject to suspension from serving for a period of three years, and in cases of repetition of this offense are to be defrocked."

No conditions - no special cases - no exceptions; just the above statement.

Even the state recognizes the inviolability of sacramental confession (the key word in the state's regulations here is "sacramental"). I have done workshops for clergy through the Police Dept. on the mandatory reporting laws. Child abuse is subject to mandatory reporting and pastors fall under those requirements (if we know about it we have to report it or we ourselves become liable) The one exception to this reporting requirement is if we discover this within sacramental confession. The confessor is NOT required by the state to violate the confidentiality of confession. The training then goes on to discuss how reporting can be facilitated in such situations. (One is for the confessor to require the penitent to self report and then follow up with obtaining consent that if the penitent does not do so within a certain amount of time the priest will either do so on his own or accompany the penitent - but here the penitent is basically "breaking" the seal of confession by granting permission for certain details - not the whole confession - to be repeated in a different venue. The priest cannot do so on his own initiative.)

I think in the "old days" in Russia, there was an exception to the seal of confession requiring the priest to report to the ecclesiastical authorities threats against the Tsar - but that was during the Synodal period when the Church was often treated as an arm or department of the State.

So to recap - in my experience and in all that I have been told, the seal of confession is unconditionally inviolable. The only ways that the priest can bring such things up again outside of confession are if the penitent himself initiates the conversation and reopens the topic (something I suggest sometimes where more involved pastoral counseling would be helpful) or when the penitent during the confession itself grants permission for the priest to say something in another venue (as suggested above).
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
Føroyingar
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Moscow (When I make a trip to Iceland)
Posts: 30



« Reply #38 on: October 26, 2012, 11:28:14 AM »

Sorry to disappoint you, but if a child molester were ever to come to me and confess he has been harming children, there will be a visit to the police one way or another.  That may disappoint some of you, but I'd rather sleep at night as a layman than be a priest and bear the misery of innocent children on my conscience.

Father, are you saying that God's cleansing of this man's sins aren't good enough for you?

Do you think there is something the government can do for his salvation more than what the Lord is doing?
Logged

Orthodox11
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,999


« Reply #39 on: October 26, 2012, 11:36:36 AM »

If someone sins, even murder, and goes to confession, the priest shouldn't have a need to tell the police IMHO. If his sins have been absolved, why does he need anything else?

Either you believe in confession or you don't guys.

The priest reading the prayer of absolution over the penitent is a recognition of his or her repentance. A murderer or rapist who does not want to face the consequences of what they have done by turning themselves into the police have not repented. They might experience severe regret, as did Judas, but not repentance. If a person came to confess such a sin, but refused to give themselves up to the police, they should not receive the prayer of absolution either.
Logged
jmbejdl
Count-Palatine James the Spurious of Giggleswick on the Naze
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Church of Romania
Posts: 1,480


Great Martyr St. John the New of Suceava


« Reply #40 on: October 26, 2012, 11:38:45 AM »

Sorry to disappoint you, but if a child molester were ever to come to me and confess he has been harming children, there will be a visit to the police one way or another.  That may disappoint some of you, but I'd rather sleep at night as a layman than be a priest and bear the misery of innocent children on my conscience.

Father, are you saying that God's cleansing of this man's sins aren't good enough for you?

Do you think there is something the government can do for his salvation more than what the Lord is doing?

I got the impression that he was referring to someone confessing ongoing, not past, child molestation and that the reaction was one of wishing to protect the victims. If that's the case I entirely agree with the position. Trying to prevent further suffering does not imply that God's forgiveness is not good enough.

James
Logged

We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
Ioannis Climacus
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 863


"There is no religion higher than TRUTH"


« Reply #41 on: October 26, 2012, 12:07:55 PM »

If someone sins, even murder, and goes to confession, the priest shouldn't have a need to tell the police IMHO. If his sins have been absolved, why does he need anything else?

Either you believe in confession or you don't guys.

The priest reading the prayer of absolution over the penitent is a recognition of his or her repentance. A murderer or rapist who does not want to face the consequences of what they have done by turning themselves into the police have not repented. They might experience severe regret, as did Judas, but not repentance. If a person came to confess such a sin, but refused to give themselves up to the police, they should not receive the prayer of absolution either.
As has been brought up by several posters on this thread, what of the criminal saints who fled the "justice" of the state? Would you argue that St. Moses was unrepentant because of his decision not to turn himself in?
Logged

Note : Many of my posts (especially the ones antedating late 2012) do not reflect charity, tact, or even views I presently hold. Please forgive me for any antagonism I have caused.
Orthodox11
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,999


« Reply #42 on: October 26, 2012, 12:30:23 PM »

As has been brought up by several posters on this thread, what of the criminal saints who fled the "justice" of the state? Would you argue that St. Moses was unrepentant because of his decision not to turn himself in?

This is obviously an issue for the priest in question to determine. My point is that if a priest feels he must contact the authorities following a confession, it should not be asumed that the same priest will have given the prayer of absolution.
Logged
celticfan1888
Production Operator - Chemtrusion
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholicism
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of America
Posts: 3,026



« Reply #43 on: October 26, 2012, 01:00:50 PM »

As has been brought up by several posters on this thread, what of the criminal saints who fled the "justice" of the state? Would you argue that St. Moses was unrepentant because of his decision not to turn himself in?

This is obviously an issue for the priest in question to determine. My point is that if a priest feels he must contact the authorities following a confession, it should not be asumed that the same priest will have given the prayer of absolution.

I hate disorder. Lips Sealed
Logged

Forgive my sins.
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,086


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #44 on: October 26, 2012, 08:22:30 PM »

This has been an interesting conversation.  I would like to add a few comments or thoughts to it. 

There is a tone in the thread that I find particularly disturbing, and I hope I can elucidate the reasons why.  One of the things that attracted me to the Church is the fairly clear understand of Orthodoxy as a therapeia, in other words, the focus on salvation as a healing of the soul (and body).  The salvific message in Orthodoxy, as I have been taught, is focused on that rather than ensuring "justice."  In fact, the prayers of the Church, and the writings of several saints, cry out to God *not* to judge, because if He were in fact to *judge* rightly, none would be saved.

My point here is that the focus of the Church is not about dishing out, or even supporting necessarily, civil laws and punishments.  The focus of the church is the healing and salvation of people, and I would submit that "paying the penalty" is often not a part of that.  So, what does a criminal, murderer or otherwise, need?  He needs to engage in the life of Christ, to enter into the Church, to commune, to pray, to fast, to work out his salvation with fear and trembling, not necessarily to be sent to jail.

Before I conclude, I want to look at this in the light of our rich heritage and Holy Tradition.  How many examples do we have of criminals, vile murderers in some cases, fleeing to the Church for refuge?  How many Saints do we have who hid in monasteries and in the Church from criminal authorities?  Murderers, baby-killers, thieves, etc.  St. Dionysius, for example, hid a man fleeing from authorities.  As it turns out, the murderer had killed Dionysius' own brother.  He did *not* surrender him to the law, but rather taught him repentance.  His eye was not on the eternal, not the temporary. (And the murderer eventually repented and became a monk).  St. Moses the Black, another example of a criminal who fled to the Church, was hidden there, and later repented, became a monk (and a priest even), and a saint.  There is another, whose name slips my mind at the moment, who committed murder, fled to a monastery, repented and hid there for decades.  Then, at some point, based on his own conviction and under his own volition, turned himself in to the authorities (and, as I recall, was subsequently executed).

There are other examples of this as well, of "love covering a multitude of sins" and the primary goal of the church being repentance, not some modern civil notion that when one commits a crime that they must "pay the penalty" to society.  Turning oneself in is not a necessary step to repentance, as illustrated by the above examples of saints.  One could make this argument even more abstract, in that if a man confesses to murder, the priest walks him to the police station, he is then arrested and put in jail with other criminals, eventually convicted (because he outright confessed) and is given the death penalty (another aspect of this conversation that should be considered), and is executed a short time later.  Where, in all of that, is repentance really considered, from the Church's standpoint?  This idea that one must pay the penalty, the debt they now owe, rubs me the wrong way, when considering Orthodoxy.

It is with that in mind that I go to confession, and teach my children to go to confession.  And that confession, with the priest present, is to Christ.  I am bothered when I hear a priest says something like "If you do not do what I say in confession, then you must not really be sorry, so then it wasn't a legitimate confession and I can tell whoever I want." (I have heard this from a priest before, not in my own confession, but in a general conversation about confession).  Priests should, in confession, considering everything, give the medicine that will best help the person come to true repentance and salvation.  At times, I would imagine that includes telling someone to turn oneself in to the authorities.  But, the priest is not an arm of the state, nor is he a police officer.  I do not believe his job is to enforce civil law, but to help bring the penitent to salvation.  And in that realm, dealing with the eternal soul, one must feel safe to go to the priest, their doctor, and discuss their illnesses. 

If one wants to look to civil law, the Seal of Confession is protected.  I have spoken with several priests who say that they understand the seal of confession is inviolable (I will post one next). Even if one refuses the medicine (+Kyrie Eleison), who knows what the future will bring.  The last thing I will say, in my rather lengthy post, is that I read a story on my way into the Church that helped shape my view on this, whether true or not, I do not know.  It is the story of a Russian priest.  A man, wearing a long black coat, comes to the house of the priest to confess a murder he had just committed.  The man, in his fear, while waiting inside for the priest, drops the bloody knife into the priests black coat.  The priest comes, hears the confession, but the man leaves unrepentant and unabsolved.  The police come (someone saw the murderer in a black coat run to this house).  When they arrive, they see the priest's coat and find the bloody knife.  The priest is arrested, convicted, and spends some 20 years or so in prison before he is released.  He never breaks the seal of confession.  The murderer gets ill and on his deathbed eventually confesses to the crime, absolving the priest.

I find this response VERY Orthodox and the way I understood the church to be.  A person can repent of a sin without getting into legal trouble for it.  In my hypotheticals, the man changed his life and has led a good life since.  It was not built on a LIE, but built on him re-joining the faith, and repenting for his wrongs.

Like the poster above, it is disturbing me some that a priest would say "since a person would refuse to turn themselves in, they did not really repent for their sins, thus not really a confession". Obviously, the person confessing the sin is there confessing it for a reason.

Plus, everything built on a LIE is not really fair either.   That can apply to many issues.   For instance, 20 years ago I know of a guy who bought a 486 laptop.   Come to find out he bought it and knew it was stolen. He learned computers on this laptop. He works in the field today. Would it be fair for him to pay a penalty for his wrong 20 years go and base all his life on that one wrong thing? 

Yes murder is worse, theft, etc.

Even in the movie "The Island" (which is Orthodox) the man became a monk after exposing his friend.  He could have been tried for treason by the church, but he was not.  Was his becoming a priest based on a lie?
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
Tags:
Pages: 1 2 3 »  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.209 seconds with 73 queries.