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11. The Seal of Confession

1. The priest who hears confessions is most strictly boundto hold in perfect secrecy all sins confessed to him. Thisobligation incumbent on the confessor is called the "seal ofconfession."

2. The seal extends to everything connected withthe sins confessed. That is, it obliges the confessor to completesilence about any circumstance that might reveal, or cause to besuspected, the identity of the sinner who has confessed to him.

3. The priest hearing a confession, and he alone, is boundby the seal of confession. One who overhears a penitent accusinghimself, is seriously bound to secrecy, but is not, strictlyspeaking, under the seal of confession.

4. If the penitent, for good and serious reason,voluntarily asks the priest to reveal to another what he confesses,the priest is freed from the seal in the precise matter indicatedby the request. Yet the priest will not, except under most pressingneed, accede to such a request on the part of the penitent. Thepriest will rather require the penitent to tell him again, apartfrom the sacrament of penance, what he wishes to be revealed. Andthus there will be no danger of scandal, no suspicion that thepriest has broken the sacred seal.

5. What a priest knows from a source other than confessiondoes not come under the seal. Thus, if a priest saw a man commit arobbery, he could testify to the fact, even though the robber had,in the meantime, confessed the sin to him. For while the sin asconfessed is under the seal, the sin as observed apart fromconfession is not under the seal.

"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Try to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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