In response to challenges to the secret of confession that have come from states trying to react to the Catholic Church’s clerical sexual abuse crisis, the Vatican issued a document July 1 saying that the secrecy of confession must never be violated.
Many Americans today, including Catholics, do not understand why the Catholic Church defends the inviolability of the seal. This special series of stories and videos from our partner Catholic News Service addresses this need with an in-depth look at the issue, the allegations and the church’s response.
Secrecy of confession must never be violated, Vatican says
Pope Francis ordered the publication of a document July 1 affirming the absolute secrecy of everything said in confession and calling on priests to defend it at all costs, even at the cost of their lives. (With video)
California bill aims to protect children by breaking seal of confession
A California state bill that would compel a priest to reveal what’s heard during confession if there is a suspicion of child sexual abuse can appear to Catholics as an infringement on religious freedom. (With video)
New challenges to confession secrecy stem from abuse scandal
For centuries, the Catholic Church has maintained that what a penitent says to a priest in the confessional is strictly confidential, but in 2019 that rite continues to be challenged by governments. (With video)
Protecting seal of confession called essential for civilized society
Protecting a penitent’s trust in the sacrament of penance from governmental intrusion goes beyond tradition, religious freedom and church law, say experts. Confession is “the one place” people can “relieve conscience of anything.” (With video)
They’ll go to jail or die rather than violate sacrament’s secrecy, priests say
What is said between a priest and penitent in the sacrament of penance “never, never is repeated,” said the pastor of a church named for a 14th century priest martyred for refusing to break the seal of confession. (With video)
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103