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  • Results 1 to 7 of 7
    1. #1
      Lämmchen's Avatar
      Lämmchen is offline God's Lil Lamb
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      Is it okay for pastor to go to police after hearing a confession?

      What do you think about a pastor or priest who hears a confession and then goes to the police to report a crime? Has he crossed the line or done a duty?
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus


      1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    2. #2
      Krissy Cakes's Avatar
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      I guess it would depend on the crime. Like I would report child/elder abuse. But I won't report shoplifters.




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    3. #3
      tango's Avatar
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      I imagine a lot would depend on circumstances.

      If the discussion between a confessor and a priest is legally privileged and can legally be withheld in court it could create a moral dilemma for the priest. If someone confessed to a serious crime I'd hope the priest would advise them that they would report it to the police rather than letting them think it's confidential and then get the unexpected knock at the door.

      Of course circumstance changes a lot - someone who confesses working for a few hundred in cash under the table is a very different situation to someone who confesses to abducting and torturing people.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

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    5. #4
      ValleyGal is offline Veteran Member
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      I think pastors and priests should be held to an ethical standard similar to other professionals... if it's child protection, or there is harm or has the potential of harm to self or others, reporting should be mandatory.

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    7. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by ValleyGal View Post
      I think pastors and priests should be held to an ethical standard similar to other professionals... if it's child protection, or there is harm or has the potential of harm to self or others, reporting should be mandatory.
      That's an interesting question - what happens if a priest is required to maintain confidence while also being a mandated reporter for child abuse issues? Even if there isn't hard evidence that abuse has occurred my understanding is that a report must be made if there is a credible suspicion of abuse occurring.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

    8. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      What do you think about a pastor or priest who hears a confession and then goes to the police to report a crime? Has he crossed the line or done a duty?


      As I understand it, there are a lot of LEGALITIES involved - and they vary a LOT from country to country, and in the USA from state to state. Typically, a pastor should abide by the Law of the Land UNLESS it clearly, CLEARLY, contradicts a written Law of God. So what the civil law DOES come into play.


      Here is how I've always regarded the Confessional (whether in my Catholic or Lutheran days).... The priest/pastor is there in the capacity of the CHURCH, the Kingdom of God's Right Hand. But several things to keep in mind:

      1. Where there is confession and faith, as a representative of Christ (and just as a Christian!) he is to proclaim and apply GOSPEL - and that means forgiveness.


      2. Someone once defined "repentance" as being sorry enough to quit. That's the thing.... confession/repentance is NOT remorse (even your pagan dog feels that), it includes a sincere dedication to STOP, it includes a resolve to do DIFFERENTLY in the future, to live differently, to not repeat this. Otherwise, this isn't repentance (it's just remorse - perhaps only for getting caught). There needs to be repentance and faith - or this is not a confessional and any concept of "keeping this secret" doesn't apply.


      3. THAT, however, does not preclude RESTITUTION (the part of private confession no one likes! He forgives you and then tells you you need to DO something to restore). And that may well mean TELLING and TAKING RESPONSIBILITY.


      4. Here's what I was told in my Catholic days.... The priest will keep TRUE confession confidential unless he believes this will continue and cause harm to others... he must abide the 10 Commandments and the Law of Love; he cannot knowingly stand by and do nothing if great harm will result. The example I recall, Bob tells his priest he's going to kill his sister.... Now, I'd raise the whole issue of whether there's any repentance there (!) but IF the priest thinks he is truly sorry for this desire (and thus can forgive him for the desire) he must protect the sister! This may mean getting Bob to call the cops (or whatever), it may mean the priests calling the cops. Yeah, in a way, this violates the confessional BUT violating the Law of Love and the Fifth Commandment and enabling a murder is a much greater sin. We were told this SPECIFICALLY so that we did not misunderstand the confidentiality aspect - it's not absolute.



      - Josiah
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    9. #7
      tango's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      As I understand it, there are a lot of LEGALITIES involved - and they vary a LOT from country to country, and in the USA from state to state. Typically, a pastor should abide by the Law of the Land UNLESS it clearly, CLEARLY, contradicts a written Law of God. So what the civil law DOES come into play.
      Of course if the priest chooses to put the law of God above the law of the land he should be willing (as indeed any of us should) to face the secular consequences of breaking a secular law.

      1. Where there is confession and faith, as a representative of Christ (and just as a Christian!) he is to proclaim and apply GOSPEL - and that means forgiveness.
      3. THAT, however, does not preclude RESTITUTION (the part of private confession no one likes! He forgives you and then tells you you need to DO something to restore). And that may well mean TELLING and TAKING RESPONSIBILITY.
      Forgiveness is a multifaceted concept in some situations. The priest may proclaim God's forgiveness, although we don't need a priest to do that. God's forgiveness frees us from spiritual consequences but does not free us from secular consequences. If the confessor has committed a secular crime with secular consequences there is nothing the priest can do that will make those secular consequences go away. It's a reasonable argument that if someone is truly sorry for what they did they will face the secular consequences, even if only to make things right with whoever they have wronged.

      I'm going out on a limb and linking this thread to a news article about a priest who informed the police about a man who confessed to abusing a child. In a situation like this there is probably nothing he can do to make things right with the child but simply figuring God has forgiven him so it never happened and the child can just deal with it helps nobody, least of all the actual victim.

      4. Here's what I was told in my Catholic days.... The priest will keep TRUE confession confidential unless he believes this will continue and cause harm to others... he must abide the 10 Commandments and the Law of Love; he cannot knowingly stand by and do nothing if great harm will result. The example I recall, Bob tells his priest he's going to kill his sister.... Now, I'd raise the whole issue of whether there's any repentance there (!) but IF the priest thinks he is truly sorry for this desire (and thus can forgive him for the desire) he must protect the sister! This may mean getting Bob to call the cops (or whatever), it may mean the priests calling the cops. Yeah, in a way, this violates the confessional BUT violating the Law of Love and the Fifth Commandment and enabling a murder is a much greater sin. We were told this SPECIFICALLY so that we did not misunderstand the confidentiality aspect - it's not absolute
      True - it puts priests in an impossible position if they are expected to protect others from clearly identifiable harm but also expected to maintain confidence even when someone says they plan to commit (or actually committed) a serious crime. Throw in mandated reporting of reasonable suspicion of child abuse and the priest has little option but to turn in the confessor.
      Last edited by tango; 01-10-2020 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Added quote tag
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

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