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A Catholicism question....
I was watching a 2nd season episode of Bones, an episode dealing with a murder on parish grounds.

At the end of the episode, the head priest of the parish was talking to the administrator of the parish, talking to her about how she poisoned two other priests in the parish (one to death, one to sickness), and why. At the end of the discussion, she asked for absolution.

He said "We are not alone with God. This isn't that kind of confession", and got up and left. She was left alone in an FBI interrogation room, with agents listening and watching through a 1-way mirror.that

My question is.... What would the priest's superiors say about his actions?

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They would be beyond appalled -- and her lawyer would have good grounds for having that confession thrown out as inadmissable in a court of law.


They would be beyond appalled
I'm not sure about this. Having not seen the episode and scene in question, I can't speak as to what the circumstances were. However, the priest stated--albeit after the fact--that "this isn't that kind of confession," referring to Roman Catholic sacrament. If the sacrament isn't occurring, the Seal of the Confessional may not apply. What's key to the whole discussion, I suppose, is what the parish administrator/murderer believed was happening. If she truly believed she was in the midst of the sacrament, the priest might be in trouble with the Church. However, if the priest never explicitly stated, "Let me hear your confession" or something similar, the priest might have a way out. (I admit, it's been perhaps a decade or more since my last Confession, so I don't remember how a traditional Confession session is supposed to begin on the priest's end.)

You're talking about TV writing, which has little to do with reality and much to do with theater and dramatics.

In real life, which is what Buddha was asking about, that priest would likely be defrocked. Priests cannot behave like that -- if she believes it was a valid confession she was giving to a priest, then it is considered under the seal of the confessional, and is also a privileged conversation, so that confession would be tossed out of court and the officers reprimanded for their tactics, if they weren't suspended or discharged. It's great theater, but piss-poor policework. If it won't stand up in court, then it's a waste of everyone's time.

Also, theologically, even a faulty confession performance by a priest has no bearing whatsoever on the sanctity and validity of the Sacrament. This is a point that was hammered out centuries ago and has been a core doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for millenia now. A sinning priest can perform a valid Mass -- the state of grace of the priest has no bearing on a Sacrament entered into with faith on the part of the congregant.

~~ was taught by Franciscan brothers and Jesuit fathers ~~


That's what I thought. I don't even think it was necessary -- since she hadn't previously Confessed to the murders, he could easily have expressed his suspicions and they could have gotten physical evidence without a confession.

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As a former Catholic, I agree with the other posters.

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