A priest in the Philippines has been officially declared excommunicated for breaking the seal of confession, GMA News reports.
Archbishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon declared that Father Alejandre Galias was under the severest possible Church penalty after investigating an allegation he had violated the secrecy of a confession, which is supposed to be absolutely confidential.
"We found out that he really violated such rule and thus incurred an automatic excommunication," Archbishop Bastes said. He has notified all the dioceses in the Philippines about Father Galias' status.
Under the excommunication, Father Galias is barred from administering or receiving the sacraments and cannot hold any position within the Church. Father Galias has also been accused of running a fraudulent group that poses as a religious community.
Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz explained that the priest would need to appeal to Pope Benedict XVI if he wished to reconcile with the Church. “It requires the Holy Father to lift an excommunication," he said. “It is quite serious." Excommunication is always intended to be primarily a medicinal penalty so that the person who is excommunicated recognizes their error.