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upon to testify in quality of a minister of a sacrament, in which my God himself has enjoined on me a perpetual and inviolable secrecy, I must declare to this honorable Court, that I cannot, I must not answer any question that has a bearing upon the restitution in question; and that it would be my duty to prefer instantaneous death or any temporal misfortune, rather than disclose the name of the penitent in question. For, were I to act otherwise, I should become a traitor to my church, to my sacred ministry and to my God. In fine, I should render my. self guilty of eternal damnation.

“ Lest this open and free declaration of my religious principles should be construed into the slightest disrespect to this honorable Court, I must beg leave again to be indulged in stating as briefly as possible, the principles on which this line of conduct is founded. I shall do this with the greater confidence, as I am speak. ing before wise and enlightened judges, who, I am satisfied, are not less acquainted with the leading doctrines of the Catholic Church, than with the spirit of our mild and liberal Constitution.

6. The question now before the Court is this: Whether a Roman Catholic Priest can in any case be justifiable in revealing the secrets of sacramental confession? I say,

he cannot: the reason whereof must be obvious to every one acquainted with the tenets of the Catholic

ject to higher powers : for there is no power but from God : and those that are, are ordained of God : and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation." 1 Peter, c. 2-v. 13, 14. “ Be ye subject, therefore, to every human creature, 'for God's sake; whether it be to the King, as excelling; or to Governors, as sent by him for the punishinent of evil doers, and for the praise of the good.”

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Church respecting the sacraments. For it is, and ever was a tenet of the Catholic Church, that Jesus Christ, the divine Founder of Christianity, has instituted seven sacraments, neither more nor less.* It is likewise an article of our faith, that the sacrament of penance, of which sacramental confession is a component part, is one of the said seven sacraments.t It is, in fine, the doctrine of the Catholic Church that the same divine Author of the sacraments has laid the obligation of a perpetual and inviolable secrecy on the minister of the said sacrament.

“ This obligation of inviolable secrecy enjoined on the minister of the sacrament of penance is of divine insti. tution as well as confession itself: it naturally flows from the very nature of this sacrament, and is so es, sentially connected with it, that it cannot subsist without it. For, when the blessed Saviour of mankind institu. ted the sacrament of penance, as the necessary means for the reconciliation of the sinner, fallen from the grace of baptism by mortal sin, he unquestionably did it with the intention, that it should be frequented and resorted to by the repenting sinner. Now, it is self evident, that if Christ our Lord had not bound down his minister in the sacrament of penance to a strict and perpetual silence, it would be wholly neglected and abandoned ; for, we want neither great learning nor deep sense to conceive, that, in that supposition, the last of the temptar

* Concil. Florent. in Decreto Eugenii ad Armenos. Coneil. Trid. Sess. 6. Can. 1, + Concil. Trid. Sess. 14. Can. 1 et 6.

Coneil Cabilon. Cap. 33. Concil. Lateran. 4 in Canone : Om-cis utriusque sexus, &c. &c.

tions of a sinner would be to reveal all his weak nesses and most hidden thoughts to a sinful man like himself, and one perhaps in many respects inferior to himself, and whom he knows to be at full liberty to diyulge and disclose whatever may be intrusted to him. In short, the thing speaks for itself: Christ the incarnate Wisdom of God would have manifestly, demolishad with one hand, what he was erecting with the other; unless we believe that he has affixed by a divine and most sacred law the seal of inviolable secrecy, to all and every part and circumstance of what is communicated to his minister through the channel of confession.*

“ If, therefore, I or any other Roman Catholic Priest (which God forbid, and of which Church History during the long lapse of eighteen centuries scarce ever furnislred an example) if, I say, I should so far forget my sacred ministry, and become so abandoned as to reveal either directly or indirectly, any part of what has been entrusted to me in the sacred tribunal of penance, the penalties to which I should thereby subject myself, would be these : 1st. I should forever degrade myself in the eye of the Catholic Church, and I hesitate not to say, in the eye of every man of sound principle: the world would justly esteem me as a base and unworthy wretch, guilty of the most henious prevarication a priest can possibly perpetrate, in breaking through the most sacred laws of his God, of nature, and of his Church.

“ 2dly. According to the canons of the Catholic Church, I should be divested of my sacerdotal charac

* Vide Concil. Cabilon. cap. eod. Sacram. Pænit..

Vide Tournelly tract. de

Church respecting the sacraments. For it is, and ever was a tenet of the Catholic Church, that Jesus Christ, the divine Founder of Christianity, has instituted sever sacraments, neither more nor less. * It is likewise an article of our faith, that the sacrament of penance, of which sacramental confession is a component part, is one of the said seven sacraments.t It is, in fine, the doctrine of the Catholic Church that the same divine Au. thor of the sacraments has laid the obligation of a perpetual and inviolable secrecy on the minister of the said sacrament. I

“ This obligation of inviolable secrecy enjoined on the minister of the sacrament of penance is of divine insti. tution as well as confession itself: it naturally flows from the very nature of this sacrament, and is so es, sentially connected with it, that it cannot subsist without it. For, when the blessed Saviour of mankind institu. ted the sacrament of penance, as the necessary means for the reconciliation of the sinner, fallen from the grace of baptism by mortal sin, he unquestionably did it with the intention, that it should be frequented and resorted to by the repenting sinner. Now, it is self evident, that if Christ our Lord had not bound down his minister in the sacrament of penance to a strict and perpetual silence, it would be wholly neglected and abandoned ; for, we want neither great learning nor deep sense to conceive, that, in that supposition, the last of the tempta

* Concil. Florent. in Decreto Eugenii ad Armenos. Coneil. Trid. Sess. 6. Can. 1. + Concil. Trid. Sess. 14. Can. 1 et 6.

Concil Cabilon. Cap. 33. Concil. Lateran. 4 in Canone : 0mmis utriusque sexus, &c. &c.

tions of a sinner would be to reveal all his weak nesses and most hidden thoughts to a sinful man like himself, and one perhaps in many respects inferior to himself, and whom he knows to be at full liberty to divulge and disclose whatever may be intrusted to him. In short, the thing speaks for itself: Christ the incarnate Wisdom of God would have manifestly demolishad with one hand, what he was erecting with the other; unless we believe that he has affixed by a divine and most sacred law the seal of inviolable secrecy, to all and every part and circumstance of what is communicated to his minister through the channel of confession.*

“ If, therefore, I or any other Roman Catholic Priest (which God forbid, and of which Church History during the long lapse of eighteen centuries scarce ever furnished an example) if, I say, I should so far forget my sacred ministry, and become so abandoned as to reveal either directly or indirectly, any part of what has been entrusted to me in the sacred tribunal of penance, the penalties to which I should thereby subject myself, would be these : 1st. I should forever degrade myself in the eye of the Catholic Church, and I hesitate not to say, in the eye of every man of sound principle: the world would justly esteem me as a base and unworthy wretch, guilty of the most henious prevarication a priest can possibly perpetrate, in breaking through the most sacred laws of his God, of nature, and of his Church.

“6 2dly. According to the canons of the Catholic Church, I should be divested of my sacerdotal charac

* Vide Concil. Cabilon. cap. eod. Vide Tournelly tract. de Sacram. Pænit..

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