Priests in the Park

Confession–also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation–is one of the Sacraments instituted by Christ in his ministry.

I think this is a wonderful expression of Christ’s love. It is great that the church was willing to take the time to move it to a public place so people can see what actually occurs during confession and not the dramatized versions that have misshaped public views.

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Agree. One of the more shocking things Jesus did was to announce sins are forgiven.

The California State legislature appears to be poised to break the seal of the confessional–it has already passed the State Senate, and is expected to pass the Assembly.

That would be one of many reasons why I could not be a Priest. I could not see not breaking the seal of confession if someone confessed to abusing children.

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How many people do you estimate that might be?

Pure violation of religious freedom.

The ironic thing is that the law it is idiotically stupid. What person who let’s say confesses he raped a child, is he going to say, ‘By the way my name is XX’. No one announces their name in a confession so even if the priest wanted to break the seal of confession he is not going to know his name anyway.

Probably will not survive federal court review. The Supreme Court is taking a pretty broad view of the free exercise clause.

I was thinking of that two ways. First, is as you say. If a priest in a confessional that screens a penitent, what would the law insist he do? Leave his confessional, open the door to the penitent’s side, and…then what? Snap a picture, ask the penitent to sit quietly in a pew for the police to arrive…

The second scenario is a fellow priest confessing that sin. In that case, the priest hearing the confession would recognize his fellow priest.

I was also remembering questions we asked a priest back when we were in elementary school. What happens if someone confesses a serious crime? I do not know that it is church policy, but the priest told us that absolution and forgiveness would be dependent on turning himself in and making restitution.

Hopefully you are right. As Matt noted, the law does not seem to know that confession can be completely private and anonymous.

Swearing at your mom,

four hail-marry.

most people don’t go to random churches for confession most priest have a personal relationship, I don’t see how the right of privacy can be violated but the right of religion can’t be.

The church should be pro-active and make this their policy to begin with.

Why did the priest choose the ‘Hail Mary’ prayer on which to meditate? Back in second grade, preparing for our First Confession, we were taught that we were not supposed to rattle off a prayer, but to reflect on what that prayer was teaching us, where it was leading us. The number was an estimate of what it would take to change the behavior. Obviously, the priest did not think the penitent would get it the first time around…or the second…or the third… It would take reflection at least four times over to hopefully make that impact.

A priest can withhold absolution. “Come back to me (or call for me and I will come to you) once you’ve turned yourself in, and then I will grant absolution. Until then, you cannot be absolved.”

It wouldn’t matter, one would be too many. It may have something to do with being a mandatory reporter though. It is so ingrained to report that the idea of not reporting and just hoping that the person would stop abusing a child seems absurd.

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I understand your point. However, is one child enough to dissolve the line between separation of Church and State or a practice that has been the rule for hundreds of years? As Guvnah pointed out (and as I was taught about confession) absolution can be withheld until the penitent does the right thing. I am wondering if there is any estimation of how often a priest hears such an atrocity being confessed. Because of the seal, I doubt any such data exists.

One is too many.

I am of the mind that one child is more than enough to not just dissolve it but violently sever it. The well being of a child was enough to make the Savior of the World go from telling people to go and sin no more to “with what you have coming, it would be better that you had a millstone tied to your neck and tossed into the sea.”

I grew up in the UMC. One thing that they had was auricular confession. Obviously not a sacrament, in fact, just a matter of meeting the minister in his office to get a particularly bad sin off your chest. More along the lines of a counselling session, as obviously clergy cannot and do not grant penance in Protestant Churches.

There is no seal, though generally there is an expectation of confidentiality. But if you confessed to something such as child abuse, the minister is not under an obligation of silence and likely will report it, particularly if he feels the person is likely to repeat or continue the activity.

The big difference. In Methodism and other Protestant Churches, confession, if it exists at all, is not considered a sacrament, while in the Catholic Church it is one of the seven sacraments. They are between a rock and a hard place in that regard. If they break the seal, they likely will have Catholics refusing to go to confession and if they keep the seal, they will be protecting people who should not be protected.

I am not, never have been and never would be a Catholic, so I will refrain from making a definitive statement regarding what Catholics should do as far as “sealing” confession.

I do, however, as Guvnah suggests, believe that in such situations, the priest should withhold the granting of penance, unless the penitent surrenders to the authorities.

I go to confession regularly, I go behind the screen and no priest sees me. I do not announce my name. That is the same for most people. That is the way it is designed, it is anonymous. Priests hear many people’s confession, and most of it is anonymous. I do, and I don’t do anything criminal. So of course most who would confess a crime would most likely go behind a screen as well and not announce their name. Sure nowadays many will not use the screen, look at the priest know him, but most doing crimes will most likely do it anonymously. The priest can urge those who commit serious crimes to turn themselves in.