Solicitation in confession may be more widespread than believed, canonist says
May 31, 2011
Noted canon-law professor Edward Peters reminds readers of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review that when a priest hearing confessions encourages penitents to sin, he commits not only a sin but also a serious canonical crime.
Peters argues that there is reason to believe that the canonical crime of solicitation--in which a priest "solicits a penitent to sin against the 6th commandment"--is not rare. He notes that solicitation does not necessarily mean that the priest/confessor is soliciting sexual favors for himself. There may be cases in which a priest's advice encourages the penitent to sin with another person or in solitude. At first glance such advice would appear to be very bad pastoral practice; Peters points out that it is also a serious ecclesiastical crime.
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