.- Bishop Cristián Contreras Villarroel the Auxilary Bishop of Santiago has firmly condemned a recent article in the Chilean newspaper “Las Ultimas Noticias,” in which a journalist falsely entered the confessional, on a number of occasions. The Bishop said the reporter’s actions, which copied a recent Italian news stunt, desecrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation and are an affront to religious sensitivities.
The journalistic stunt attempted to replicate a story published by the Italian newspaper ‘L' Espresso,’ and sought to manipulate the Sacrament in order to "to reveal" what Chilean Catholic priests teach in the confessionals on topics such as euthanasia, abortion, cohabitation, and in-vitro fertilization. A reporter for ‘Las Ultimas Noticias’ went to several churches in Chile and gave false “confessions” to various priests, a sacrilegious act given the sacred nature of confession.
Bishop Contreras explained that in their article titled, "The unbelievable advice of priests in the confessional," “Las Ultimas Noticias” intended to show that "the clerical attitude can be very different from the ‘hard’ official teachings of the Church.”
According to the bishop, the newspaper pulled confessional answers of the priests out of context to, “sound provocative and suggest an opinion of dissidence." In a letter addressed to the editor of “Las Ultimas Noticias,” the bishop recalled the sacred nature of the Sacraments and decried the, "the object depravity of an act that pretends to lay bare the conscience in the sanctuary and to celebrate a sacrament, when in fact it is only a publicity stunt.”
"Journalistic investigation has its ethics, and does not need to base itself on lies and deceit,” the bishop wrote.
“Besides, all of the experiments of this type have, in the end, served to corroborate that the teachings exposed 'in the intimacy of the confessional' are consistent, an overwhelming majority of the time, with the official teaching of the Magisterium," said the bishop.
"The Liturgy of the Church and its Canon Law protect and require the effective guardianship of the sacred nature of the sacraments, and particularly that of confession. The seal, or secrecy, regarding confessional matters is inviolable, absolute, and perpetual. If the confessor reveals a sin confessed by the sinner, he is to be excommunicated. There are not only a few confessors who have witnessed with their blood, as martyrs, the inviolability of this sacred seal," indicated Bishop Contreras.