Action Alert!

Caution for a priest-confessor: giving bad advice can be a canonical crime

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Apr 14, 2016

My favorite canon-law expert, Ed Peters, has called attention to an article he published in the June/July 2011 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, entitled When bad advice in confession becomes a crime. This article is especially relevant today in light of… Well, I’ll let you decide for yourself why it’s relevant.

Peters notes:

The article explains how the canonical crime of solicitation in confession (Canon 1387*) penalizes not simply an attempt by a priest to use the confessional to solicit immoral acts from a penitent with the confessor himself, but also authorizes sanctions against giving immoral advice to penitents to be acted upon alone (such as condoning the use of pornography) or with others (such as approving of extra-marital sex).

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Travelling - Apr. 16, 2016 9:57 PM ET USA

    Thanks for this great piece of information, which is I suppose actually common sense. Very timely though.