Are you surprised at the brevity of the answer?
There’s really nothing more to the answer than a direct NO.
The Church takes the seal of the confessional with the utmost seriousness. Anything a priest is told in confession must remain secret. A priest cannot reveal it, no matter the circumstances and no matter the sin. The identity of the penitent—if the priest knows it—must also be kept confidential.
No one—not even public officials, law enforcement, judges, nor a superior—no one can legitimately demand information about a person’s confession from a priest. The priest is obliged to keep the seal, even if he is threatened with prison, torture, or death.
Indeed, history tells us of priests who have gone to their deaths rather than break the seal. In the 14th century, the king of Bohemia, suspecting his wife of adultery, tried to force her confessor to reveal her sins. The confessor—St. John Nepomucene—refused to say a word, and was eventually thrown into a river and drowned.
He remains one of the most famous defenders of the confessional, a priest who illustrated in the fullest way just how serious his obligation is.
When a man chooses to become a priest, he knowingly takes on the obligation to die rather than break the seal. Knowing about this obligation can teach us to appreciate a good priest even more than we did before.
Show a priest you know just how much you appreciate what he does. A sturdy, insulated tumbler in priestly black with a “collar” of silver and his name etched on it, will encourage him at his many daily duties, whether he’s at the parish or on the go. Available today at The Catholic Company!