Confidentiality of private confessions made to priests: a perspective from the Anglican Church in South Africa
Simelane, Mfanafuthi Wycliff
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The aim of this research is to determine the responsibilities of the Anglican Church priest regarding the confidential information received during the private confession. When the penitent makes a private confession to the priest and the private confession relates to a crime, the priest becomes a competent and compellable witness in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977. On the other side of the continuum, the priest cannot disclose the confidential information made during the private confession in terms of Anglican Church documentation. The research revealed that the confidential information made to the priest during a private confession is not subject to disclosure except in the following circumstances: * When the private confession relates a future event. The future event may relate to something that has not materialised or a revelation of intention, which may theologically constitute a sin but not yet, an act to confess. * When the failure of the priest to disclose the confidential information is contra bonos mores in terms of legislation or any other law. The research recommended that it is the responsibility of the Anglican Church to include in its prescripts indications when the priest may disclose the confidential information made during a private confession.
- Theology