This sounds like a plot right out of a movie. Whereas 44 year old John Grazioli walks into a Catholic Church in Erie Pennsylvania, to confess to the priest that he had just shot and killed his wife. However while Grazioli is still on scene, the church notifies the police. The police arrive and take both Grazioli and his firearm into custody.
Did the Priest violate the trust of the priest-penitent privilege? I believe he did.
The law does not require clergy to report a murder that had already been committed. Either way, the priest justified his violating of this privilege because Grazioli confessed his sin (a crime) in his rectory office, rather than inside the official confession booth.
But forget about the movies, and this Roman Catholic phenomena. The Roman Catholic’s sacramental confessions are unbiblical idolatrous religious hocus pocus.
Though Roman Catholicism is a religion and not the Church. The Scriptures do speak of born-again Christians making a ‘general’ confession of sin(s) amongst fellow Christians.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Though a sacramental confession to a priest is not Biblical, the Scriptures do require a sinner to confess their sins to God, and when appropriate to one another. Although how we confess to God, and how we confess to our fellow man are different.
When confessing to God, for the redemptive forgiveness of our sins, we must keep that confessional prayer limited exclusively to the Godhead. As the Scripture says,
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
When we confess to a fellow brother or sister, those confessions are not for the redemption of sins, and should only be in the context of receiving horizontal restoration, Biblical counsel, and/or prayer. But use wisdom when confessing your faults (or sins) to others. We all sin by nature, and some sinners do gossip. Therefore when confessing to a brother or sister, your confession should be general in nature, such as “Brother pray for me, I’m struggling with sin today.” Or pray for my family or health, etcetera.
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