Priests and confession secrets-A A +A
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
DID Fr. Melvin Castro violate the seal of secrecy when he said many young people were driven to confession knowing they sinned in using artificial contraception that the reproductive health (RH) law encourages?
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman thinks Fr. Castro, head of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, did that to “demonize” the church-hated RH law.
Seal of the confessional is so absolute and inviolable, a priest can’t be compelled to testify in court about it or otherwise reveal it even under compelling conditions.
The canon law says it’s a crime “to betray a penitent” in any manner or for any reason. A Holy Office decree says it is forbidden and punishable.
Fr. Castro didn’t reveal any penitent’s identity. But did he not displease unnamed penitents who confessed they used contraceptives?
Fr. Castro didn’t claim he was the confessor, saying only that it was the “observation of priests.”
He was referring to not just one confession but several confessions to as many priests when he said the RH law is driving “many young men” to sin.
From both the canon law and the Holy Office decree, it would seem identification of the penitent and his sin are necessary for the seal to be violated and excommunication and other sanctions to apply.
Yet it’s such “a very sacred trust” that the prohibition covers “any use of the knowledge” from confession.
Apparently, Fr. Castro used the information to instigate people to shun the RH law. Would that justify a breach of the seal?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 20, 2013.