Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Any universal church law is a norm that is for strict observance by all the Christian faithful. In the four corners of the globe all universal church laws are written down in the Code of Canon Law. The Code of Canon Law is faithfully translated in all major languages in the world and are available in all countries where the church in established.

Anybody and everybody can have and handle, read and know any and all universal church laws. All universal church laws are immune to secrecy or confidentiality. They are precisely written in black and white for everybody in the world to know. They are open and clear for all peoples to be aware of, irrespective of their colors, races and creed.

Universal church law categorically provides: “whether in the act of or on the occasion or under the pretext of confession, a priest who solicits a penitent to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, is to be punished with suspension, prohibitions and deprivations in accord with the seriousness of the offense; and in more serious cases, he is to be dismissed from the clerical state.” (Canon 1387 CIC). This is a heap of all the known grave canonical penalties or sanctions.

Questions: How could such a universal canonical provision be a “secret”? How would such a specific universal penal norm in the church be a “shelter” to a guilty priest? How could such a expressed and public church law serve to “silence” the victim?

The truth is that the priest confessor is placed at a great disadvantage by the above cited canon or church law. While anyone and everyone could loudly accuse him of the crime of solicitation in the confessional, before anybody and everybody. The priest confessor remains specifically bound to be strictly quiet by another universal church law on the “seal of confession”—under another severe penalty for its violation (Canon 1388 CIC).

The church has her own serious reasons for being that severe to priest confessors, viz., to safeguard the dignity of the sacrament of reconciliation and to protect the good name of the penitents. Let the Good Lord protect his own priests!

Linking the Pope to “Child abuse cover-up” in the “crimen sollicitationis” viz., the crime of solicitation as concretely understood by the church for centuries, is in truth abusive of the messenger bringing an abusive message.

+O. V. CRUZ, D.D.
3 October 2006