Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When bad advice in confession becomes a crime

The folks at Homiletic and Pastoral Review have kindly posted my entire article, “When bad advice in confession becomes a crime” (June/July 2001).

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).

I hope readers find it informative, and I appreciate HPR’s making it more widely available.

* 1983 CIC 1387. A priest who in the act, on the occasion, or under the pretext of confession solicits a penitent to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is to be punished, according to the gravity of the delict, by suspension, prohibitions, and privations; in graver cases he is to be dismissed from the clerical state.