Q: There’s a priest from [a third-world country] in residence in my parish…. In the confessional he didn’t want to give me absolution. He said he didn’t know if I had sinned, since maybe I had done these things by accident. But you could say that about practically any sin… it didn’t make any sense. He doesn’t seem to understand basic theological concepts. We got into a theological argument, and eventually I said that I would tell our pastor about this. The priest insisted I can’t do that, since it would violate the seal of confession!
I thought the sacramental seal bound only the priest hearing the confession. Am I forbidden to talk about my own confession to others? Can’t I repeat to the pastor what this priest was telling me in the confessional? –Christopher Continue reading
Q: Many countries today have legalized gay marriage. Could such a marriage ever be possible in the Catholic Church? Is it automatically invalid because they can never consummate the marriage or have children? I worry that governments might try to force Catholic priests to perform these marriage ceremonies. –Miroslav Continue reading
Q: I am [in the U.S. armed forces] and we were discussing the fact that military chaplains come in all denominations. Can a Jewish, Muslim, or Sikh chaplain baptize someone a Catholic? Can a Jewish, Muslim, or Sikh chaplain give Communion or last rites to a Catholic? –Eric Continue reading
Q: Can Catholics receive communion at Episcopal services? One article I read … states that the Canon Law deems reception of communion from a non-Catholic minister is blasphemy and, as such, a mortal sin. –Paula Continue reading
Q: I read an article online, saying the Vatican just arrested five people for leaking and publishing confidential Vatican documents. Lots of anti-Catholic comments were posted under the article, asking why the Pope arrests leakers but not pedophile priests? I wanted to defend the Church but I didn’t know what to say. Can you explain how the law works, so I can better respond next time? –Colleen
A: Colleen is certainly right about anti-Catholic bigotry! As the late great Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.” The Catholic-bashers whom Colleen describes apparently think that there’s a legal parallel between priests accused of pedophilia in various countries around the world, and Vatican employees who share sensitive government documents with the press. They think that if the Vatican arrests leakers, it should arrest child-molesting priests too. But is there any way to compare the two? Let’s take a look. Continue reading