CONFESSIONAL SECRECY I







JESUS BREATHED ON THEM AND SAID TO THEM, “RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. “IF YOU FORGIVE THE SINS OF ANY, THEIR SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN THEM; IF YOU RETAIN THE SINS OF ANY, THEY HAVE BEEN RETAINED” (JN. 20:22-23; CF. MATT 16:19)

As the priest was about to go for his lunch, someone called him and said someone is desperately in need of confession in the church. He went to the confessional in the church waiting for the penitent. The person came and knelt at the other side saying in a gentle voice… forgive me father for i have sinned…. I have poisoned your lunch. It was the cook. If you are the priest or you are to advice the priest, what will you do or what will you say?

The beauty of the Sacrament of Confession is that – God meets with his children and welcomes them in compassion and forgiveness – No one meets with God and goes back the same. It is where Jesus is able to tell the penitent (sinner), “Then neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” (Jn. 8:11) for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). It is in the Confessional that a priest shares in and exercises the divine nature of God as the one who forgives (cf. Lk 5:19-21; Jn. 20:21-23). Thus in the Confessional, the Priest stands as the Advocate, the Judge (Heb. 5:1-3; Lev 27:12-14; Matt 18:18), and the Physician (Can. 978 §1) where he judges the gravity of the sin, apportions the penance (penalty/ punishment) and pleads for God’s forgiveness for the penitent.

However, because the Priest is equally human and subject to temptation thus: He cannot hear the confession of his own accomplice in a sin (cf. Can. 977 Compare Can 982). It is not advisable that he hears the confession of those he has “power” over (Can 984 §2). So as to remove the danger and the occasion of the priest’s disciplinary action of the subject as being influenced by the knowledge received in the confessional.

Back to our cook who poisoned the priest’s food and then went for confession with the same priest; though, the priest shouldn’t have heard his confession BUT considering the fact that “the need for confession was an urgent necessity (cf. Can 986 §2.), and the fact that he did not know who it was until in the confessional, he may hear the cook’s confession and grant him absolution especially if there is no other priest who could have done it. The Priest absorbs his sin and gives the penance: “DISPOSE THE FOOD WHERE NO ONE, NOT EVEN ANIMALS CAN HAVE ACCESS TO IT…”

Now if THE COOK REFUSES TO DISPOSE THE FOOD, and the priest knows, IS THE PRIEST FREE NOT TO EAT THE FOOD? May the Lord deliver us from evil (Matt 6:13).

Be Blessed.

TO BE CONTINUED

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