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Seal of the Confessional
(634 words)

The “seal of the confessional” is the guarantee that whatever a penitent shares in the rite of penance (Penitence) will not be disclosed by any who hear it. The duty of silence that members of the clergy accept at ordination corresponds to the right of silence that the state extends to the clergy in court. The church’s basis for it is the Christian love that does not expose a neighbor except in emergency (Matt. 18:15) and that accepts responsibility for penitents, and also the confidence it has in its own pastoral care.

Roman Catholic canon law (1983 CIC 983–84, 1917 CIC 889–90) strictly fo…

Cite this page
Stein, Albert, “Seal of the Confessional”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 01 June 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_S.42>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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