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Should Priests confess to Government Authorities

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posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 06:25 PM
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There has been a case recently in Australia where a paedophile confessed his sins to a priest. After the paedophile repeatedly offended again, it was made known that the priest knew about his problem and the situation could have been prevented.

Now this obviously raises some issues. I am pretty sure these priests make an oath to the church and possibly God that they will not pass this information on and hold it in the strictest confidence.

On the other hand, they have information that could potentially stop evil crimes from occurring.

Is it necessary for these criminals to get this information off their chest to someone? Does it make them feel better? Why do they go through a priest and not directly to God? If they tell someone, surely it is ther hearers duty to act on this information!!

So, what are your thoughts on this?

Edit typos and bad english

[edit on 26-1-2005 by shmick25]




posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 07:51 PM
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First off, the moron who confessed to a preist needs put to death for his crimes. I have no sympathy for people that molest children. Secondly, the preist should be put in jail for allowing it to go on.

It is a crying shame that people feel the need to confess to a man. Why in the world do millions of people find it acceptable to treat these people as holy men? As if they are better than the rest of us. Lets not even get started into why there is confession.....



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 08:00 PM
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I am not sure what the Confidentiality laws or hipporatic oath are or how they apply in Australia, even if they can be applied to men of the cloth, or Religious leaders.

But from some examples I know of, something like this especailly if repeated it would be correct to inform proper authorities. Churches are not above the law of state, they still need to follow it.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 08:34 PM
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Seapeople, it's called religion. I know you have a huge problem with it, but it's there and people hold to those beliefs as strongly as you hold to yours. I would hope you could at least respect that, though disagree and disaprove of it.

As for priests going to the police, they are not permitted. I don't know about Australia, but in America we have (for now) a thing called freedom of religion. If your faith requires, people are allowed to go outside the law. For example, there are indian tribes in the south west who go on vision quests using payotee. They are legally protected and permitted to use the illegal drug in religious ceremonies. Catholics go to confession, confess their sins to a priest, and that priest is required by Catholic doctrine to not share that. To do so would be violating his duties as priest, violating his faith, and thereby violating his being.

Also, when you go to confession, you're not just asking for forgivness, you're repenting. Repenting means you have no intention of doing it again. You're done with it.

It is a shame, I'll admit. I'm sure many priests have some very heavy burdens on their hearts. However, as soon as priests are required to go to the cops with illegal information as shrinks are, people stop telling the priests about the illegal things they've done.

Now what I'm really curious about is how they know this guy confessed to a priest. Do you have a link to an article?



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 08:54 PM
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Originally posted by shmick25


Is it necessary for these criminals to get this information off their chest to someone? Does it make them feel better? Why do they go through a priest and not directly to God? If they tell someone, surely it is ther hearers duty to act on this information!!

So, what are your thoughts on this?

Edit typos and bad english

[edit on 26-1-2005 by shmick25]
I read at least 10 times daily in here that Jesus died for the remission of sins. And when one feels s/he has sinned all they need do is ask forgiveness of Jesus.

Case closed obviously since he is the judge, jury and prosecutor, the perpetrator asked, said his 5 Hail Mary's, was cleansed nd voila! Instant sainthood. In view of this then, anyone, especially from a country that claims Christianity as its roots, has no business attempting to overrule this confession, for they toy with the wrath of their lord, and will be visiting the confessional themselves later to atone. Hence only the heretic take issue.

Now aside from the above which is repeatedly pushed by certain factions in here, this heretic would throw that priest in the same cell with the criminal, and charge him with being an accessory after the fact.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 08:58 PM
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Jungle Jake, tell me please, where in the bible does it tell you to confess to a priest? When did confessions come about and why? Who benefitted from them?

Answer these simple questions, use a history book if you will. There may be freedom of religion, but for a preist to stand by and allow someone to get raped or molested is criminal. They are supposed to be servants of Jesus Christ. They are supposed to be believers in the Bible. Where in the bible are you told that you need to confess to a preist...and better yet, where does it tell preists that they are not permitted to tell?

You see, it is not religion, it is stupidity. And people who even attempt to rationalize some jerk preist's motives for allowing a child molestor to continue DESTROYING an innocent childs life is sickning. I cannot believe for even one second, a good "christian" would even begin to defend that. This is why christianity makes me turn in my stomach. Stupidity just like this...

Now, do you think for one second that this man had no intention of doing it again? PROBABLY NOT!!!! But anyone that can molest a child is mentaly distressed to a point that elimates any trust you should have in them. How many people confess premarital sex with "the intent of not doing it again"? Come on now....

STOP USING JESUS CHRIST FOR AN EXCUSE TO BE A NARROW MINDED #^%$&%$*&



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 09:03 PM
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Priests cannot tell anyone someone elses confession. No matter how bad it is. Confession is to ask for Gods forgiveness.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 09:08 PM
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I don't beleive it should be required, since that would essentially deprive Catholics of a basic element of their faith, and therefore would prevent them from practising their religion. On the other hand, what if the knowledge would help the police prevent a crime? Its an interesting question.

I'd be interested in hearing from a member who knows, what the operating code of ethics is for a priest in the position of hearing about a crime. My guess is they can't tell, but would encourage the individual to turn themselves in. I would hope it goes further and allows the priest to take the steps needed to prevent further crimes.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 09:08 PM
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Originally posted by Seapeople
defend that.


They're not defending it. They just cant tell a confession.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 09:49 PM
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You sound like a news anchor. You take two words out of about 500 as my quote, and totally miss the point I am trying to make along with trying to twist my words. He said "seapeople, its called religion". That was his response to why preists should be allowed to keep a secret such as this. THAT WAS A DEFENSE! THAT WAS AN EXCUSE!

What is it that people see acceptable about this situation. This is what is wrong with society.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 10:14 PM
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Originally posted by Seapeople
You sound like a news anchor.


Maybe thats what I should do for a career then.



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 10:58 PM
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Originally posted by Seapeople
Jungle Jake, tell me please, where in the bible does it tell you to confess to a priest? When did confessions come about and why? Who benefitted from them?

Nowhere. I'm not saying I agree with the doctrine. If I did, I'd be a Catholic. I was simply stating that that is the doctrine of their religion. Their sect of Christianity. It's been around well before europe started colonizing the west.



...tell preists that they are not permitted to tell?

Again, not in the Bible, but in Catholic doctrine. They hold their doctrine as closely as the scripture from what I understand.



You see, it is not religion, it is stupidity.
huh?


...This is why christianity makes me turn in my stomach. Stupidity just like this...

Because we follow the rules put forward by our faith? Just because it's Catholic doctrine and not in the Bible doesn't mean they hold it just as close to their hearts. From webster:


Main Entry: doc·trine
...
2 ... b : a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : DOGMA c : a principle of law established through past decisions

It's a principle of law to follow. Who are you to tell 1 billion people they're wrong and stupid for believing in a faith?



Now, do you think for one second that this man had no intention of doing it again?

Yes. I have committed sins that I have repented for (without the priest, just Jesus) yet committed again. I had no intention of doing so, but I am weak. Please note, I'm not defending this pedofile in any way. The dude should be locked away for life, and it's a shame that any child had to go through that. It's the priest I'm defending. He did what was expected of him and required of him.


STOP USING JESUS CHRIST FOR AN EXCUSE TO BE A NARROW MINDED #^%$&%$*&

What is it that makes me closed minded in your mind? Is it because I don't agree with you?

EDIT: Sorry for all the quotes, I'm just really tired and didn't feel like phrasing my statements as complete thoughts. Figured I'd just reply instead.

[edit on 1-26-2005 by junglejake]



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 11:06 PM
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Cant find the article now as it was a while ago.

So the question is this.

If I tell a priest that I am about to do a serious crime, he has no oblication to help to stop this happen.

If I tell anyone else the same information, do they have a responsibility to inform the authorities?

Say for instance a terrorist comes into a catholic church and says to the priest, 'Forgive me father, but I have placed a nuclear bomb in the city and it will blow up in the next 4 hours'. I can bet you that the priest would say something then right


So I think it depends on the saverity of the information involved. I am pretty sure that the priests have different rules to cover their own butts!



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 11:25 PM
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Originally posted by shmick25
Cant find the article now as it was a while ago.

So the question is this.

If I tell a priest that I am about to do a serious crime, he has no oblication to help to stop this happen.

That depends. Absloutly he has an obligation to stop it from happening, but not a legal obligation. The problem is people don't go to confession before or while they're sinning, they go after the fact. We let child rapists out of jail. Many of them are repeat offenders. It is assumed by our legal system, however, that after your time is up for the most part you're rehabilitated. Should the jails be held responsable for allowing a repeat criminal out when their sentance is up? It would be illegal for them to do it according to the laws which prisons abide, but they could prevent a future crime against a child by doing so. It would also be illegal for a priest to tell authorities about someone's confession.


[QUOTE]
So I think it depends on the saverity of the information involved. I am pretty sure that the priests have different rules to cover their own butts!
It may, but it really shouldn't. So far as they're concerned, Catholic doctrine is the same as a law handed down by God. Now, they believe God is perfect, so who in their right mind would violate the law of a perfect, good God thinking that they're doing better?



posted on Jan, 26 2005 @ 11:34 PM
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Originally posted by Seapeople
Jungle Jake, tell me please, where in the bible does it tell you to confess to a priest? When did confessions come about and why? Who benefitted from them?

Leviticus 26:40-45 ; James 5:16 ; 1 John 1:9-10
Confessions to preists are a lot easier then confessing to a brother or sister. often a preist or religious leader helps intercedes for us,. They are there to help us, and it is not required when you ahve the gift of the holy spirit.


but for a preist to stand by and allow someone to get raped or molested is criminal. They are supposed to be servants of Jesus Christ. They are supposed to be believers in the Bible.


You are correct, they are unrepenting sinners according to the bible, and also criminals under state law


Where does the bible say that preists that they are not permitted to tell?

In the bible there is nothing, becasue God hear's and see's all. but there is also the hypocratic oath and usually state laws to take into account.


Hebrews 10:26-31
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” (Deut. 32:35) and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”(Deut. 32:36; Psalm 135:14) It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

There are far worse things in store for an unrepenting Christian.

From my experaince, when a Chrisitan breaks the Law of the state, and confesses to a priest, he may be forgiven by God, but he still has broken the law and if he is truely repentant should be willing to accept the punishment the state will give him. Even with repentant sin, God will punish. (Example: King David, Uriah's wife and the death of her son)

God created Goverments just like he created the world, he also created the laws to govern belivers and unbelivers that are under control of the governement. And to disobey the laws of government, is also disobeying God. But on the other had, the power that God gives should be used responsibly and not be abused.

Many people are confused and think The seperation of Church and state is not allowing them to mix.. But actaully it is not allowing them to have power over another



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 12:29 AM
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Originally posted by shmick25
There has been a case recently in Australia where a paedophile confessed his sins to a priest. After the paedophile repeatedly offended again, it was made known that the priest knew about his problem and the situation could have been prevented.

The priest who heared the confession should be charges with aiding and abetting. I'm sure there are rules that priests have to follow.. like chastity etc so I'm sure he would have been obliged to report it to his superiors anyway.
Otherwise.. are priests excempt from following the laws of the land?

Church is also meant to be a safe sanctuary for everyone- including kids. I'm sure he's as much obliged to make sure it remains so as he is to keep confessions private.

I'm also wondering if this was indeed a formal confession or if it was just someone talking with a collegue.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 12:38 AM
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Originally posted by riley
The priest who heared the confession should be charges with aiding and abetting. I'm sure there are rules that priests have to follow.. like chastity etc so I'm sure he would have been obliged to report it to his superiors anyway.

So far, many non-Catholics have said this. I'm not Catholic, I don't know the doctrine very well. However, you guys are applying your personal values on a religion that has existed for over 2000 years. It's developed its own rules as a result of time, and has reasons for them.

I would like to see a Catholic familiar with Catholic doctrine address this, though. Are the priests ever to repeat a confession?



I'm also wondering if this was indeed a formal confession or if it was just someone talking with a collegue.

Oh, come on. Let's not turn this into a priest molestation conversation. If it was another priest that had done it, I am 101% positive Shmik would have mentioned that in the original post. The percentage of priests who have been nailed for pedophelia is the same percentage of the general population. The church handled that whole thing in a poor manner as far as public relations and trust are concerned, but they are still within the Status Quo, unfortinatelly. To possibly turn this around in your head, there was a thread on ATS recently talking about the high gay divorce rate since marrage was legalized, and someone pointed out it was the same divorce percentage as heteros. Don't be a hypocrite


EDIT: Not saying you're a hypocrite, just saying don't go down that path in your next reply
Hope this showed up before you responded.

[edit on 1-27-2005 by junglejake]



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 02:52 AM
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No, I dont think it should be their obligation to tell government authority of crimes. I think they can if they want to, but it isnt their obligation. I think it depends on the situation, though. Although it depends on the situation, I think it is entirely up to them to turn the person in if they want. I believe this because I also believe it isnt my, or anyone elses obligation to turn someone in of incriminating evidence one may be aware of, despite what the law may say.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 04:09 AM
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Originally posted by junglejake

Originally posted by riley
The priest who heared the confession should be charges with aiding and abetting. I'm sure there are rules that priests have to follow.. like chastity etc so I'm sure he would have been obliged to report it to his superiors anyway.

So far, many non-Catholics have said this. I'm not Catholic, I don't know the doctrine very well. However, you guys are applying your personal values on a religion that has existed for over 2000 years. It's developed its own rules as a result of time, and has reasons for them.

I would like to see a Catholic familiar with Catholic doctrine address this, though. Are the priests ever to repeat a confession?



The answer is no, plain and simple. Not to a superior, not to anyone. A confession is sacred and cannot be violated, period.

However, a priest can refuse to give absolution and the sacrament (forgiveness for sins) is not fulfilled if the person confessing has any consious intention of continuing to sin. Whether or not the sacrament is fulfilled, the priest still may not violate the confession by discussing it outside of the confessional.

I do believe that the priest could make it a condition of absolution (as there is a priest directed penance involved to fulfill the sacrament) that the person make right the wrong. The priest may very well have been working towards this goal, to have the person turn themselves in, as oppossed to say throwing him out of the confessional and allowing the person to just go on with the crimes. The fact that the person continued to go back to the priest shows that there was a moral burden, and therefore a chance to convince the person to turn themselves in. It is not clear to me whether or not this happened from the information provided here, but the fact remains, the priest may not do anything to violate the confidentiality of the confession, no matter what.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 05:05 AM
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Originally posted by junglejake
However, you guys are applying your personal values on a religion that has existed for over 2000 years.

Actually- it's not just my personal values. These are indeed the CATHOLIC values I was raised with. A priest is meant to be the pinicle of moral integrity and needs to be so no matter what.

Oh, come on. Let's not turn this into a priest molestation conversation.

I figured it was a collegue.. [I didn't say priest.. it might be a school church so teachers would count as collegues.. and charity workers, welfare officers etc] ..not because of biggotry as you are insinuating.. but the very fact that the responsibilty of the priest is being discussed shows that he actually KNEW the child rapist personally.. and he'd have to know something of him to even contemplate taking further action. And who would priests be on such a personal footing with? Collegues.
Also confession is meant to be carried out annonomously through a hole in the wall which doesn't sound like the case here.. and given the 'evil' nature of the sin you'd think he'd prefer to keep it that way.. unless he was comfortable with the priest and they were fairly familiar with eachother. It's also possible the offender was a long time friend that confided in him and then called it a confession.

If it was another priest that had done it, I am 101% positive Shmik would have mentioned that in the original post.

Hopefully he will clear this up.


The percentage of priests who have been nailed for pedophelia is the same percentage of the general population.

Yeah nailed for pedophelia.. and.. do you actually hace an unbiased source on those stats?
What.. do you think bank tellers are just as likely to molest children? They haven't got the same access to children and therefore opportunity. It doesn't take a genius to work out that many child molestors choose occupations where they have access to children.

The church handled that whole thing in a poor manner as far as public relations and trust are concerned, but they are still within the Status Quo, unfortinatelly.

And the Staus Quo should be hed accountable as well.

To possibly turn this around in your head,

Actually.. you are the one that spun it.

EDIT: Not saying you're a hypocrite, just saying don't go down that path in your next reply
Hope this showed up before you responded.

Yeah- wise edit..


[edit on 27-1-2005 by riley]



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