Repost (because now all sorts of states in these USA are pushing for making the fact of the Seal of Confession a felony offense). ///
John of Nepomuk (Nepomucene), not living even 50 years, (1345–1393) was thrown off a bridge and drowned in the Vltava river because he wouldn’t break the Seal of Confession. Knowing the trouble I have gotten into many times (though I haven’t yet been thrown off a bridge), a dear friend (RIP), finding a picture of a stained glass window of Saint John instructing us about the silence necessary, got this professionally matted, framed (complete with ultra-violet protection). This went up in the hermitage chapel and is now in the tiny chapel of the rectory. It’s good to have heavenly intercessors that we might emerge from this dark world of aggression into heaven, please God.
The pastor of the church we used for the diocesan retreat this past week has cameras and microphones all over the church. Not good for Confessions in church, as we did. Before Confessions started I banged on the door of the rectory and asked about such electronics and he said that they were all turned off. Great. One of the automatic excommunications in Canon Law concerns the breaking of the Seal of Confession and another regards the recording of Confessions.
Those law enforcement agencies which no longer care about the free exercise of religion are all into recording Sacramental Confessions. The FBI was caught out bugging the confessionals of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Even Padre Pio’s confessional was bugged. Such people who do such things risk going straight to hell, as do those who would attempt to coerce or trick a priest into revealing confessions.
It might tell you something about this priest that I’ve gotten and already used this nifty gadget:
That’s about as up-to-date with tomorrow’s tech as you can get. The spectrums are amazing, with all sorts of capabilities for detecting mics and transmitters. A bit 007 you say? Why so “scrupulous”, you ask?
Sins confessed are owned by the Blood of the Lamb. If any priest couldn’t care less about the Seal of Confession, that priest (we hope there are none), takes any sins he betrays unto his own soul. I don’t want to go to hell. I want to go to heaven. I want my penitents to go to heaven. It’s all about Jesus. If you want to know about my sins, check out His wounds. I did that.
Oh, and, by the way, a believing priest is not going to be burdened with carrying around the memory of any sins confessed. He’s instead rejoicing in Jesus’ mercy for His Little Flock and then is otherwise busy with the sheep at Holy Mass and the administration of the other sacraments. I love being a priest.
© 2023 Fr George David Byers
3 responses to “Seal of Confession, martyrdom & joy”
What a breath-taking painting! I observe three Angels bearing a crown and palm, a key (?), and an envelope (his ticket into heaven?). I think your readers would benefit from your pastoral interpretation of this painting.
I love that you love being a priest
“… that we might emerge from this dark world of aggression …”
The serpent on top of the world, as seen (previewed anew) on the front of the Miraculous Medal comes to mind. The uptake of evil has ebbed and flowed over time but presently the dark aggression fathered by the devil is growing, so much so that those who love God find it difficult not to feel discouraged sometimes and suffer the malaise that flows from that.
I dare say that what is approaching will be the worst persecution of the Church than at any other time in history if the devil gets his way, the threat having reached such a point by 1830 that God put the words of Genesis 3:15 into visual form (the Miraculous Medal) to be worn around the neck and accompany us everywhere: the reminder that although Satan and his followers believe him enthroned above all – on top of the world – Our Lady (descendant of Adam yet Mother of God) is above him, her foot (the Saviour brought forth through her, God become man as foreseen by Elijah on Mt Carmel) crushing his head, putting an end to all his presumption, bringing to destruction the devil’s wicked plot against God and man.