This request may be forwarded, sealed, through the apostolic delegate or nuncio in a country the Pope's ambassador , to be guarded by the privilege of a diplomatic pouch. With that being said, however, the Holy See and the Bishops of the world have stressed that that is not to be a norm for these situations, is generally to be discouraged if possible, and should be reserved strictly for rare, very serious, and scandalous cases. It includes the following declaration of the law as to the seal of confession: Any person who overhears a confession is likewise bound by the seal. For a priest to break secrecy would lead to a latae sententiae automatic excommunication , the lifting of which is reserved to the Holy See — in fact, to the Pope himself.
Even then, confessional secrecy still holds — whatever is said once the encounter begins by the person going to the confessional area, taking a seat, and closing any door, and the priest saying a greeting and making the sign of the Cross, or the priest praying with and granting absolution to the person before they leave is still protected from being ever revealed. Any person who overhears a confession is likewise bound by the seal. In many cases the rule of evidence of confessional privilege forbids judicial inquiry into communications made under the seal of confession. Other casuists considered "grey areas" in which it was unclear whether or not the seal was being violated. In certain very rare cases according to a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria , if the priest truly feels the person is not contrite sorry for the sin, either out of respect for God, or more properly, out of sorrow for sin , there are no ameliorating factors such as age or maturity or addiction and the priest has evidence of this by the penitent's words, manners, or behaviors, and especially if the sin is very severe and fully deliberate mortal sin — especially a mortal sin that is punishable by a censure , is very scandalous — such as if the person is a senior public official or a cleric, and the sinning is chronic with no indication whatsoever of positive change or at least the intent to change, the priest may refuse to hear, or to continue to hear, the person's confession. Priest—penitent privilege The law of different jurisdictions in general requires people under certain circumstances to testify about facts known to them. The US state of Louisiana's Supreme Court ruled in that a priest may be compelled to testify about what he was told in the confessional regarding a particular sexual abuse case, leaving the priest at risk of excommunication if he even confirms that a confession took place, or jail for contempt of court should he refuse to testify. With that being said, however, the Holy See and the Bishops of the world have stressed that that is not to be a norm for these situations, is generally to be discouraged if possible, and should be reserved strictly for rare, very serious, and scandalous cases. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. For whoever shall dare to reveal a sin disclosed to him in the tribunal of penance we decree that he shall be not only deposed from the priestly office but that he shall also be sent into the confinement of a monastery to do perpetual penance. In a criminal matter, a priest may encourage the penitent to surrender to authorities. Let the priest absolutely beware that he does not by word or sign or by any manner whatever in any way betray the sinner: This request may be forwarded, sealed, through the apostolic delegate or nuncio in a country the Pope's ambassador , to be guarded by the privilege of a diplomatic pouch. This is the case, for example, with more serious offenses, as some excommunicable offenses are reserved to the Holy See and their permission to grant absolution must be obtained. However, those situations are the extent of the leverage the priest wields. March Main article: He may not directly or indirectly disclose the matter to civil authorities himself. It includes the following declaration of the law as to the seal of confession: History[ edit ] Gratian , who compiled the edicts of previous Catholic Ecumenical Councils and the principles of church law, published the Decretum about There may be conflict between the obligation of confidentiality of confession and civil law. For a priest to break secrecy would lead to a latae sententiae automatic excommunication , the lifting of which is reserved to the Holy See — in fact, to the Pope himself. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
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Australia priests could face jail over seal of confession
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