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Violating the Seal? Who could possibly have foreseen it?

Violating the Seal? Who could possibly have foreseen it? March 14, 2015

An Italian journalist goes into a confessional, lies about making a confession, and then records the priests’ responses. Jeepers. Who could have imagined that would ever happen?

A final point to consider: In addition to the dangers of soul law enforcement officials face, there is an even greater danger posed when private citizens internalize the ethos “Cops lie, so therefore I can too.” Witness the recent work of a “citizen journalist” who decided to lie her way into a crisis pregnancy center in order (allegedly) expose the evils of the prolife movement. This turnabout on the tactics of some in the prolife movement shows where this tactic will inevitably lead as the culture wars escalate. It will not be all that long before somebody shows up in, for instance, your confessional, Father, offering some outrageous false confession of some horrible crime in order to record your response on their cell phone, edit it who knows how, and then publish it to the internet with who knows what charge that you are (by observing the Seal of the Confessional) complicit in aiding and abetting some heinous crime. A little imagination shows that the potential for abuse and invasion of privacy by “citizen journalists” is almost infinite and will not be surprised if the day arrives when Churches will require metal detectors in confessionals in order reduce the chances that the Seal will be broken as “citizen journalists” either give false confessions or record the confessions of others for broadcast. Particularly troubling is the fact that, with the right technology somebody *else’s* cell phone can be turned into a recording device, even when it is off, allowing unscrupulous people to record the confessions of others.

In short, the growing culture of free lance “citizen journalists” lying to people and recording each other with no more editorial oversight than the Internet is a step toward creating, not a civilization of love and trust, but a civilization something more like an Orwellian police state in which citizens are encouraged to spy on and inform on one another: a civilization in which all bonds of love and friendship are replaced with relationships of suspicion, fear, and paranoia; a civilization where you simply never know whether the conversation you have with a neighbor or a priest about your struggles with the the bottle, or porn, or your marriage will wind up on Youtube for the delectation of millions.

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