Readers Fr Alec Mitchell, Judith Daniels and Dr Henry Thompson respond to Joanna Moorhead’s article Confession is sacrosanct
As a (sinful) Anglo-Catholic priest, I, too, would never disclose anything said to me during the sacrament of confession (or reconciliation, as many now prefer to call it), even under threat of prosecution (Confession is sacrosanct, Joanna Moorhead, 17 August).
However, the confessor is at liberty to prescribe an act of penance, and this could surely include, in cases such as child abuse, domestic violence, or murder, for example, a promise to seek professional help, or even an admission of guilt to the appropriate authorities, before any further absolving could be given. In this way, all consciences would be respected and sacrilegiousness avoided.
Fr Alec Mitchell