Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Media's Double Standard Is Showing Again

Double Standard
Padre Giovanni Trigilio
As Americans, we cherish the age-old inviolability of the doctor-patient and lawyer-client confidentiality. As Roman Catholics, we revere with religious awe, reverence and gratitude the Seal of Confession. The priest-penitent confidentiality is SACROSANCT and outranks all others. Not even the Pope can ask or demand that a priest break the seal and reveal the identity OR the sin confessed in the Sacrament of Penance. Priest Confessors must be ready and willing to sacrifice their own life rather than violate the seal.

Imagine if the New York Times publicly chastised a lawyer for respecting confidentiality of attorney and client rather than violate the trust of the defendant and disclose information to the police. Imagine MSNBC humiliating a doctor for not violating the physician-patient confidentiality and incriminating the accused. It would NOT happen. Yet, a bishop and a cardinal are vilified and demonized for defending the priest-penitent confidentiality.

I had the honor and privilege of attending the Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, DC) yesterday afternoon at 1pm. The original celebrant was supposed to be His Eminence Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. He was attacked in the press for thanking a bishop who refused to break the seal of confession. The penitent was a priest who confessed he was guilty of pedophilia. He could have confessed to mass murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, drug dealer, etc., yet NO SIN EVER EXCUSES THE INVIOLABILITY OF THE SEAL OF CONFESSION.

The secular press DISTORTED the facts and made it sound as if Cardinal Hoyos praised Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux, France, for not reporting a clergy sex offender of children to the local police. In reality, the Cardinal praised the Bishop for not violating the Seal of Confession. PERIOD. Father Rene Bissey confessed his sins and whether he was contrite or not, no priest, bishop, cardinal or pope can reveal who went to confession nor what they confessed.

If the priest abused the sacrament by intentionally tying his superior's hands via the confidentiality of the sacrament, then the priest penitent is guilty of sacrilege but the confessor is forever bound to respect the total and absolute inviolability of the confidentiality of the Sacrament of Penance.

But there is a double-standard today. Lawyers and doctors and even reporters are allowed to keep confidentiality but the media wishes to polarize clergy and laity, priests and bishops. Ask any second grader preparing for his/her first confession and First Communion. They KNOW that NO priest can ever disclose the identity of the penitent nor the nature or details of the sins confessed. Were he to do so, the priest would incur an AUTOMATIC EXCOMMUNICATION which only the Pope can revoke.

Yes, pedophilia is a horrible, despicable and disgusting and those who abuse children deserve swift and complete JUSTICE where good is rewarded and evil punished. Nevertheless, the Seal of Confession can never be broken. EVER. If the media only realized this and respected it, (they need not agree with it), we would at least have fair and balanced journalism.


  • At 26/4/10 1:01 AM , Blogger TH2 said...

    I always liked Fr. Trigilio. He is very leveled headed, very good at making proper distinctions. What I really liked is his show on EWTN with Fr. Bob Levis... the Q & A program, whose title I cannot now recall. It was fun to watch the friendly banter between them. Are only repeats on now? Or do they consistently make new programs?


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