Back to our Priest who received the knowledge of his Lunch being poisoned by the same cook who came to confession with him. Though he granted absolution to the penitent; instructing him to dispose the poisoned food as penance, the penitent (cook) refused to dispose the food.

Has the priest the right not to eat the food? He may not eat the food SINCE GOD HAS HELPED HIM TO KNOW THAT IT WAS POISONED. The priest in question threw the food away by himself. In the evening of the same day, the cook came to the priest saying, “You have violated the rule of confession”, quoting the Cannon Law that the priest is forbidden from using knowledge acquired from confession, and was insistently arguing that the priest should have eaten the food and not throw it away. The priest quietly went into his room and brought out the Code of Cannon Law and read to him: Can. 984 §1 states that “A confessor is PROHIBITED COMPLETELY from using KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED FROM CONFESSION to the DETRIMENT OF THE PENITENT even when any danger of revelation is excluded”. He admitted that he is completely prohibited from using the knowledge acquired from the confession BUT to the DETRIMENT OF THE PENITENT.

However, since the eating of the food is his (the Priest’s) own business, he can judge to eat or not to eat. The Priest added that § 2 of the same law states, “A person who has been placed in authority cannot use in any manner for external governance the knowledge about sins which he has received in confession at any time”. “I shouldn’t have been able to do anything to you should you not have come to challenge me”, the priest said. “But since this is no longer part of the confession…


Again, deliver us O Lord from every evil.

Be Blessed.


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