Can a priest ever tell confessions to the police?

Can priests disclose confessions?

Under Roman Catholic law, it is forbidden for a priest to disclose information — under any circumstances — obtained in the form of religious confession. If a priest breaks what’s called “the sacred seal of confession,” he will be subject to excommunication from the church.

What happens if you confess to a crime to a priest?

“If someone confesses an intention to commit a crime, the priest [likely will try to] dissuade the penitent from carrying out the crime, but he may not divulge what he is told during confession.” Breaking the “seal of the confessional,” Dodge emphasizes, results in automatic excommunication for the priest involved.

Are confessions to a priest admissible in court?

A confession, if voluntarily given is admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution in the United States or District of Columbia. … Any confession given to a member of the clergy cannot be used as evidence in a court of law. Priest-penitent-privilege exempts pastors from having to testify in court.

What does a priest say after confession?

First the priest prays, ‘”May almighty God have mercy on you, and having forgiven your sins, lead you to eternal life. Amen.” followed by “May the almighty and merciful Lord grant you indulgence, absolution, and remission of your sins. Amen.” Both of these can be omitted for a just reason.

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Do priests confess to other priests?

He confesses in the same manner as a layman, except that when a priest hears a bishop’s confession, the priest kneels. … The priest will make a prostration before all and ask their forgiveness for sins committed in act, word, deed, and thought.

Do priests have to be celibate?

In Latin Church Catholicism and in some Eastern Catholic Churches, most priests are celibate men. … In most Orthodox traditions and in some Eastern Catholic Churches men who are already married may be ordained priests, but priests may not marry after ordination.

Can priests be forced to testify?

State laws generally exempt a pastor from having to testify in court, or to law-enforcement, about what was discussed in a church confession. The so-called priest-penitent privilege, however, can be challenged in court. And some states are changing their laws in response to a rash of clergy child-abuse cases.

What happens if you confess to a crime you didn’t commit?

A false confession is an admission of guilt for a crime which the individual did not commit. … Hundreds of innocent people have been convicted, imprisoned, and sometimes sentenced to death after confessing to crimes they did not commit—but years later, have been exonerated.

Is a confession enough to convict?

A general criminal law principle known as the corpus delicti rule provides that a confession, standing alone, isn’t enough for a conviction. With its design of preventing wrongful convictions, the rule implicitly acknowledges the phenomenon of false confessions.

What confession is admissible in evidence?

When a statement is made voluntarily without inducement, threat or promise from a man in authority; and when it is not made to a police officer, it is admissible notwithstanding the fact that the person who took the confessional statement did not warn the accused that he was bound to make the statement and if he did so …

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Is there confidentiality with a priest?

All U.S. states have laws protecting the confidentiality of certain communications under the priest-penitent privilege. The First Amendment is often considered the basis of such a privilege.