Can a priest report a sin that hasn't been committed in order to prevent a crime?


Full Question

My deacon said that if a person confessed a sin that was yet to be committed such as killing someone, then the priest was bound by law and conscience to report the uncommitted crime; otherwise he would have to live with a troubled conscience for not having attempted to prevent it. Is this true?

Answer

Under no circumstances is a priest allowed to use "knowledge acquired in confession to the detriment of the penitent" (CIC 984). "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" (CIC 983).


Peggy Frye