Repost (because now all sorts of states in these USA are pushing for making the fact of the Seal of Confession a felony offense). ///
Here’s a not really fictional conversation between myself and a certain law enforcement officer:
- What’s up with the Mafia, Father Byers?
- I’m a priest, not a rat.
- You’ve made it a point to get to know a guy helping head up GICO of GdiF.
- That antimafia freakboy? I’m impressed. You’ve done your research. But you’re wasting my time. Am I free to leave?
- You’re right. It was his initiative. He made it a point to get to know you. We put him on to you.
- But for years, with bribes that would embarrass Church and State, with extortion that would have left me bereft of lifesaving medicine, even threats to bring my priesthood to an end in any number of ways, all witnessed, so annoying. Typical craft. What of it?
- But life as a spy, full of adrenaline, the assignments he was giving you… You resisted…
- I guess you’re having a problem with my answer at the start of this interrogation.
- You misunderstand. This is just a conversation. We’re all friends.
- So, I’m free to leave, friend?
- There is the matter of that liaison between the Ministero della Difesa and the Holy See that we had living at your college in Rome.
- You mean that idiot wanting to get me assigned to a certain parish with the end of having me break the Seal of Confession should any members of the mafia sing about what they’ve done? That weasel, that sorry excuse for a human being, pezzo di merda?
- Um… the best attorney Italy has to offer, Father Byers. He was getting his doctoral degree in Church Law as well if I remember. But, yes, that’s why we’ve brought you in.
- I cannot break the Seal of Confession. What’s said there stays there, buried deep in the wounds of Christ. I would die before breaking the Seal of Confession. I don’t want to be excommunicated. I don’t want to go to hell. I want to go to heaven. I cannot betray the blood of Christ Jesus in the Confessional. I have no right to anything said there. If I were to betray sins confessed in Sacramental Confession, I would take the guilt of all those sins on myself. I won’t do that. As for you… you betray your oath to uphold the Constitution, the First Amendment, the free exercise of religion. You should go to Confession. We’re done here.
- But we thought you might be brave enough to go up against the mafia, it’s the only right thing to do; it’s integrity, honesty.
- I want those in the mafia to go to heaven, repentant, with a firm purpose of amendment, with changed circumstances of life, with absolution.
- We just want to listen in. We will not act on anything. It’s privileged information. You can do your duty as a priest and help to protect innocent people.
- After all this time, you, the religious expert — one-time seminarian, is that right? — you still don’t get that I’m not against flesh and blood. I want people to go to heaven, including the mafia. I am against the fallen angels. And you’re siding with them, aren’t you? I believe in God, because I see His wounds.
- I’ll tell you whose wounds I see, those of the sheep whose wounds are inflicted by those damned mafia wolves.
- You only lust after promotion. You come to me only because you can’t do your own job. You just want to imprison the mafia. But I can do more to end the multiplication of victims by converting individual members of the mafia, relying only on integrity and honesty and honor and respect.
© 2023 Fr George David Byers