Recording Sacramental Confessions & United States Department of Justice


The DoJ has many times been to the post with the detail of the screenshot of the URL above. The URL is misleading. I had been writing about the prudence – or not – as to whether essential members of racketeering influenced and corrupt organizations (RICO) such as mafiosi (who happen to be Catholic by baptism) should be automatically excommunicated in such manner that Missionaries of Mercy might be delegated to remove such medicinal penalties upon any repentance. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who spearheads the Missionaries of Mercy project for Pope Francis, told me when I was last in Rome that this was not their project, nor that of Pope Francis, but a project of others in the Roman Curia, and had been abandoned. But that’s not the point of the visits to the post, as that aspect of the post was also changed mid-writing. The URL stayed but the subject matter was different.

What continues to be of interest in that post by the DoJ regards the recording of Sacramental Confessions, something that the FBI (a bureau under the DoJ) has been caught doing a number of times by way of bugging Confessionals in such churches as Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, again and again. They don’t give a damn, literally. They can’t bring that information to court, but it’s useful for structuring directions of investigations, it being easy for U.S. Attorneys to provide other more legal motivations to the court for why certain investigations were undertaken.

I find it interesting that the Department of Justice continues to look at this post with some regularity:

Surely this isn’t to prosecute anyone who is abusing the first amendment rights to free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the Constitution of these United States by way of the recording of Confessions. No, no. It’s the very DOJ via the FBI which abuses the Sacramental rights of Catholics.


Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

7 responses to “Recording Sacramental Confessions & United States Department of Justice

  1. Interesting. For audio recording I think most states only require one party consent to the recording. In video recording, if privacy is expected (a dressing room) video surveillance is usually prohibited. One would think that bearing one’s soul would be treated with the same sensitivity as bearing one’s body. I wonder what DoJ decided?

    • Father George David Byers

      It’s more than that. Without the Seal of Confession there is no free exercise of religion.

  2. Aussie Mum

    This year marks the end of the free exercise of religion in most parts of Australia. Breaking the seal of confession in the case of child sexual abuse is now mandatory in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT: home of Australia’s capital city, Canberra, and Australia’s Federal Government) and in three of our 6 states: Victoria (where our innocent cardinal, George Pell, is imprisoned), Tasmania and South Australia. Western Australia and Queensland are intending to do the same in the near future. Only NSW, my home-state, is holding out but is expected to follow suit later in order that the law be the same across Australia. Those bishops who have spoken have said our priests will not comply and will go to prison should the occasion arise.

  3. Aussie Mum

    A few possibilities come to mind re the DoJ interest in your post Father.
    Perhaps they are monitoring the Church’s attitude to the Seal of Confession, popping in from time to time to see if you have added an update or new comments have come in. Maybe there is concern that you or another Missionary of Mercy will hear in the confessional something they do not want anyone to know.
    The purported emails to and from John Podesta in 2014 about getting a revolution going in the Catholic Church comes to mind. Perhaps the DoJ’s special interest is not to do with the sins numbered 4th and 5th on the list but that listed 2nd: use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff. We still don’t know what brought about Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation in 2013 or why he remains in seclusion within Vatican City, and there is still a mystery surrounding the election and strange behaviour of Pope Francis. I have just now been searching for a post you made a while ago Father about a meeting you had with some intelligence types who were talking about Pope Francis, wondering if that might be relevant to this but my searches have come up empty.

  4. Aussie Mum

    Further to a possible FBI (or CIA) interest in our two most recent popes.

    There is an article on the internet linking the following:
    1. Islamism, the Obama Administration, fear of Russia’s reintegration with the rest of Europe, the Vatican’s financial arrangements and the resignation of Pope Benedict
    2. Pope Francis, Peter’s Pence and Hillary Clinton’s election campaign
    3. Vatican financial corruption, the firing of IOR’s president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi (2012), the resignation of the Holy See’s auditor-general Libero Milone and charges brought against Cardinal Pell by Victoria Police (both in June 2017)

    If the information provided in the above mentioned article is correct, corrupt figures in the Vatican are involved with some very powerful people with international reach.
    Tedeschi was fired amidst false allegations after he discovered “something scary” and “was so scared of being assassinated that he had written down a secret report on the IOR … entrusted to two of Tedeschi’s close friends as a sort of insurance policy on his own life” (see link above).
    Apparently Milone was also hit with trumped-up charges because of what he was discovering, and subsequently resigned as “requested”.

    In Tedeschi and Milone’s cases the false charges were dropped once those men had complied; however, Cardinal Pell refused to be bullied. He insisted he was innocent, came home to Australia to prove it and stated he intended returning to his work at the Vatican when cleared of the false charges. Instead he is in prison after the conduct of a trial described as a kangaroo court, convicted of abusing two boys on the sole evidence of one of the “victims”. There was ample evidence given that he couldn’t possibly have done what he was accused of, yet that was ignored along with the fact that the other “victim” said before he died that Cardinal Pell didn’t do it.

    So much corruption and injustice keeps bringing to mind the image on the front of the Miraculous Medal (the devil coiled around the world) and Our Lady’s promise that her Immaculate Heart will triumph (Our Lady crushing the devil’s head under foot).

  5. Freedom of religion has been under attack for several decades now. Much of that attack has been against Catholics. It doesn’t surprise me that the sacrament of confession is a target. I have often thought those face to face confessions were derogatory towards the sacrament.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.