Can a Priest Ever Reveal What is Said in Confession? (Part II)

Q1: I would like to put before you a question with regards to revealing of confessional substance under the permission granted by the penitent.  My question is “Whether by the penitent’s permission, a priest may reveal to another a sin which he knows under the seal of confession?”  Thank you! –Father R.

Q2: I am studying Canon Law as part of my basic theological studies (I am a religious seminarian). I am reading a Commentary on Canon Law [in another language] about sacraments. In the part speaking about the seal of confession, the author goes into great lengths with regard to everything the priest cannot do with the confession information. He even tells an imaginary story, when a penitent tells the priest that the Mass wine he is about to use for Mass is poisoned and according to the author, the priest cannot change the Mass wine, for that would reveal the evil intent of the penitent! He can only escape or celebrate the Mass nonetheless. I found that example extremely strange and exaggerated…. Can you help me to understand this issue? –Pat Continue reading

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Are Catholics Supposed to Avoid Contact With Excommunicated Persons?

Q1: A friend of mine who was raised evangelical, but has recently decided to join the Church, asked me about the Church’s rules (or potential lack thereof) regarding social interaction with excommunicated people. He was raised in a church which, after removing someone from their own community through a vote of the registered church members, would not permit their members to engage in normal social interaction with that person apart from perhaps a casual, polite greeting if a member were to pass that person on the street. They cite Matthew 18:15-17 where Jesus ends by saying, “let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector,” someone with whom the original audience of that saying was not even permitted to share a meal. What does the Church say about how to interact with those who have been excommunicated? –Thomas

Q2: My husband is a non-Catholic Christian, and he and I have been having some difficult discussions lately regarding the teachings of the Church.  He claims that, since he is a “schismatic,” he is not only automatically excommunicated from the Church, but that the consequences of that excommunication would include a loss of the following:
“the sacraments, public services and prayers of the Church, ecclesiastical burial, jurisdiction, benefices, canonical rights, and social intercourse.”  Our main point of contention rests on the final penalty listed, the loss of social intercourse.
My question has two parts:
1) Assuming my husband is excommunicated from the Church (or, rather, has effectively excommunicated himself by being a non-Catholic), what are the consequences according to Canon Law?
2) Clearly, in practice, the Church does not expect me to actually shun my husband, and clearly non-Catholics (even hopeless schismatics) are allowed to attend Mass, but does this mean there is a discrepancy between the content of the law and its application? –Marianne Continue reading

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Can a Child Be Baptized Catholic, If One Parent Strenuously Objects?

Q: My ex-wife and I met, married in, and agreed to raise our children in the Mormon faith.  About three years ago she decided to leave me and returned to the Catholic Church after 25 years in the Mormon Church.  She took our son and had him baptized in the Catholic Church without my knowledge.

After I found out I spoke with the priest and asked that no more Catholic sacraments be administered to my son without my consent.  I later learned that First Communion was administered as were also Last Rites prior to an operation.

I want to be involved in all aspects of my son’s religious upbringing.  Does canon law allow me any rights to be involved with parish decisions regarding my son?  And how well founded is the hope that my son will be raised Catholic, if only my ex-wife is the one teaching him Catholicism and I’m still teaching him Mormonism?  –Bryan Continue reading

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Which Tribunal Has Authority to Annul My Marriage?

Q: I am Catholic and I was married to a Catholic for 20 years. She divorced me and I never expected to marry again.  But then I met a woman who had also recently divorced. We decided to get married.

We both submitted annulment paperwork for our first marriages to an Orthodox Archbishop, and both were granted…  The Orthodox Archbishop later married my current wife and me.  Based on reading your articles, I believed this to be a valid marriage.

My local Catholic parish priest accepted our annulment and marriage as valid and allowed us to continue in good grace in our local Catholic Church… However, my ex-wife is now challenging the legitimacy of my marriage to my current wife.

My parish priest continues to support us but I’m preparing myself for whatever challenge may come as to the validity of my Orthodox marriage. Can you please provide some insight and guidance into my situation? –Clint Continue reading

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If I Become a Catholic, What Happens to My Marriage?

Q1: Can I be received into the Catholic Church if I was not married by a Catholic priest? –Rachel

Q2: I was divorced from a Catholic in 2012. Our marriage was not in a Catholic Church nor administered by the Catholic clergy.  I am not Catholic, but I am in RCIA classes now and looking forward to becoming baptized in the Catholic Church this Easter.

There are some questions on whether the Church can proceed with my baptism prior to invalidating this previous marriage.  My Church is telling me I must receive my ex’s baptismal certificate, to invalidate the marriage, or I cannot be baptized. My ex will not cooperate with this request. She will under no circumstance make available her baptismal record, or reveal in what Church she was baptized. My deacon called her and she refused cooperation with him as well.

Can you enlighten me on any recourse I might have to be able to proceed with baptism?  Can I receive special dispensation from the Church to proceed with my baptism? –Jim Continue reading

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