I recently read an article in the Herald Sun that discusses a priest who confessed to the sexual abuse of a child during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Evidently the offending priest did not go to the police. The Bishop states that this is a misuse of the sacrament and that he’d have to consider going to the authorities. Another priest in his diocese insisted he would, indeed, go to the police if ever someone confessed a crime of that sort to him. The Bishop further stated that he’d withhold absolution if the penitent didn’t go to the police.
I’m curious as to what circumstances exist to allow priests to break the seal of confession? I was under the impression that doing so, for any reason, would result in excommunication. Ron, could you clarify?