Catholic Dictionary




Circumstances under which secrets may be revealed. A reasonable cause for revealing a secret is the urgent necessity of either the public or private good. In such necessity it would be reasonable to presume consent to the revelation of a secret. Since the public good takes precedence over the good of the individual, there are times when the latter's secret should be sacrificed for the good of society. The good of the individual that warrants disclosing a secret may refer either to the one who knows the secret, or someone who benefits from keeping the matter secret, or some third party. Where there exists a real need, it is permissible to reveal a secret for the benefit of any of these three persons. Confessional secrets, however, come under the seal of confession and may never be revealed.