A priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in
the parish. A leading local politician and member of the congregation
was chosen to make the presentation and give a little speech at the
dinner. He was delayed, so the priest decided to say his own few words
while they waited.

"I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I
heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very
first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a
television set and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his
way out of it. He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his
employer, had an affair with his boss's wife, taken illegal drugs, and
gave VD to his sister. I was appalled. But as the days went on I knew
that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine
parish full of good and loving people.".....

Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of
apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation
and gave his talk. "I'll never forget the first day our parish priest
said the politician. "In fact, I had the honor of being the first one to
go to him in confession."

Moral: Don't ever be late


Unknown said...

Now I'm not a Catholic, but... my understanding of the Catholic Confession was that as a priest, you're not allowed to just go blabbing to everyone about what people tell you in confession. In fact, I think it's the exact opposite of that, just like doctors and so on. Oh wait, I'm right:

For Catholic priests, the confidentiality of all statements made by penitents during the course of confession is absolute. This strict confidentiality is known as the Seal of the Confessional. According to the Code of Canon Law, 983 §1, "The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason." Priests may not reveal what they have learned during confession to anyone, even under the threat of their own death or that of others. (This is unique to the Seal of the Confessional. Many other forms of confidentiality, including in most states attorney-client privilege, allow ethical breaches of the confidence to save the life of another.) For a priest to break that confidentiality would lead to a latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication reserved to the Holy See (Code of Canon Law, 1388 §1). In a criminal matter, a priest may encourage the penitent to surrender to authorities. However, this is the extent of the leverage he wields; he may not directly or indirectly disclose the matter to civil authorities himself.

Conclusion: the author of the story wasn't a Catholic. Either that or he was a really stupid one.

Unknown said...

Having said that, I have absolutely no trouble in my mind imagining that scene playing out with Rudy Giuliani and Monsignor Alan Placa. I can imagine Placa thinking to himself "oh well, I'm going to get in trouble sooner or later what with all those young boys me and my buddies have been molesting and then I helped cover up, so why not just go all the way and get myself automatically excommunicated by spilling all that great blackmail material Rudy told me back in the day? Yeah, that'll be an honorable capper for my career as a public religious official." Okay, maybe not...

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