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Old 01-16-2004, 07:06 AM   #1
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Forgive me Father, for I have sinned

Priests, doctors and lawyers all have confidentiality rights, which with lawyers I can understand, doctors to an extent, but priests? Are courts allowed to subpoena priests anyway? For serious crimes, I've got major reservations about the issue of confidentiality and the protection which is afforded the church. Each can't benefit the other so which gets priority. Law or faith. Why should faith be a tool to protect the guilty. Priests have an obligation to 2 parties, the confessor and society. The law has an obligation to all, regardless of faith and all being equal.
What are your thoughts? Is this flawed, just and so on?
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Old 01-16-2004, 10:28 AM   #2
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There was a really good Law and Order on this.

I think it's BS. No one should be able to hide behind a priest.
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Old 01-16-2004, 10:54 AM   #3
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Alternatively, should priests hide anyone?
The church have a conundrum. Sure.
But they are not above the law.
Or are they? To quote Basstrap's sig lol.


I love Law & Order.
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Old 01-16-2004, 11:33 AM   #4
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Privileges only exist to give us a "safe zone" where we can speak to others and seek help (legal, medical or spiritual). A priest is not "hiding" anyone.
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Old 01-16-2004, 12:11 PM   #5
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Are they though nb, not hiding someone? If a person confesses they have committed a harmful act against someone, broken man's law...and the priest is silent...he is not assisting man's law.
I'd say the priest and the church are putting themselves above this very law, but I know it is not as simple as that.
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Old 01-16-2004, 12:39 PM   #6
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i'm catholic, and imo i think things told to a priest should be kept confidential, when you confess your sins to a priest it's really between you and God.

people also talk to priests about very personal matters. if there was no confidentiality, people wouldn't be able to trust their priest for fear of anything getting out and being used against them.
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Old 01-16-2004, 12:39 PM   #7
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I think this is most important in cases when priests are hiding information about cases that include rape or the harm of people under 18, then i think priests have a duty to tell police what they know if they didn't i say they are jsut like co-conspirators in the crime. Priests are not only protecting other peoples crimes but I think priets are able to protect many a secret in the priesthood which i think is wrong.
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Old 01-16-2004, 12:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by ABEL
i'm catholic, and imo i think things told to a priest should be kept confidential, when you confess your sins to a priest it's really between you and God.

people also talk to priests about very personal matters. if there was no confidentiality, people wouldn't be able to trust their priest for fear of anything getting out and being used against them.
i am Catholic too but think if someone goes to a priest to tell them a sin which is against the law especially in the case of harming someone or killing someone a priest surely shouldnt be allowed to keep that secret?

Last year there was a big controversy that bishops and priests who knew of sex offenders would not name them to the police, surely this is wrong? The Catholic church is protecting these people while children are going to remain victims, I can't say I agree with the catholic churchs' view on holding that type of information. They should have a moral obligation to tell the police this sort of information.
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Old 01-16-2004, 12:51 PM   #9
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I am on the fence about this bc I agree about how telling the priest your sins and personal matters is entirely the person's business but when it comes to confiding to the priest about murder or any illegal activities that might or did bring harm to another I think they should have the legal responsibility to tell the authorities
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Old 01-16-2004, 01:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by adamswildhoney
I am on the fence about this bc I agree about how telling the priest your sins and personal matters is entirely the person's business but when it comes to confiding to the priest about murder or any illegal activities that might or did bring harm to another I think they should have the legal responsibility to tell the authorities
Me too. I'm Catholic also. On the one hand what you tell your priest in confession is supposed to be between you and God. By the same token it's *not* cool not to tell anyone when you know a *crime* is being committed. It's quite a complex problem.
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Old 01-16-2004, 01:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76

It's quite a complex problem.
i agree that a criminal shouldn't have any rights, but i have mixed feelings because if they allow one thing to not be confidential, then i think it's going to open up issues with other confidential matters.
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Old 01-16-2004, 01:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Are they though nb, not hiding someone? If a person confesses they have committed a harmful act against someone, broken man's law...and the priest is silent...he is not assisting man's law.
I'd say the priest and the church are putting themselves above this very law, but I know it is not as simple as that.
Generally, no. The pastor/priest is not a participant in the crime and only obtains knowledge of the crime for the sole, express purpose of giving the individual spiritual guidance (which should include confession & repentance before man as well as before God).

But in some circumstances, the law has limited the scope of the privilege (i.e., some crimes must be reported).
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Old 01-17-2004, 04:46 AM   #13
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I would think that priests have a duty of care to not only their parishioner, but to society - and children especially - and that if they know information that could help prevent harmful acts being committed, they should do everything in their power to.

I am Catholic too, and I'd like to think that what I say in confession doesn't go outside that room. But I don't have a guilty conscience about murdering someone, for example. I think that if someone goes to a priest and confesses that they've murdered or raped someone, that shouldn't be interpreted as something that they expect the priest to keep a secret, but rather as a cry for help. If you think about it, why would a criminal want to tell someone what they've done? Because they feel guilty and want to do the right thing?

Teachers and others working with children have a duty to report any suspected abuse, whether or not the victim wants them to. On that principle I believe priests should also have a duty to report abuse etc, for the sake of the victims, whether or not the perpetrator wants them to. I am all for confidentiality, but I can't reconcile why someone who tells anyone - priest or otherwise - that they've committed a crime, would expect those details to remain private.
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Old 01-21-2004, 12:54 AM   #14
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I was always under the impression that the point of confession was to be forgiven in the eyes of god, and for that absolution one must not only confess to the transgression, but also to be repentant and to take responsibility for one's actions. I think that a priest/pastor/spiritual advisor should first encourage the confessor to take such responsiblity, and in the case of criminal activity this would be to turn one's self in to the proper authorities.

Of course, what if the confessor declines to take such action? Well, to me the "confession" then ceases to be a religious/spiritual issue and becomes merely akin to someone bragging to his/her buddies, and confidentiality should subsequently be denied.
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Old 01-21-2004, 12:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra
I was always under the impression that the point of confession was to be forgiven in the eyes of god, and for that absolution one must not only confess to the transgression, but also to be repentant and to take responsibility for one's actions. I think that a priest/pastor/spiritual advisor should first encourage the confessor to take such responsiblity, and in the case of criminal activity this would be to turn one's self in to the proper authorities.

Of course, what if the confessor declines to take such action? Well, to me the "confession" then ceases to be a religious/spiritual issue and becomes merely akin to someone bragging to his/her buddies, and confidentiality should subsequently be denied.
Very nice response.
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