I have been a priest for 46 years and I have never broken, or was tempted to break, the Seal of Confession.

I have heard stories of priests breaking the Seal and passing on information about seminarians to seminary authorities or about priests to bishops.

A priest or bishop who breaks the Seal of Confession is AUTOMATICALLY EXCOMMUNICATED and in my understanding that censure is reserved to the pope.

I do not know if the civil authorities in Ireland or the UK would attempt to force a priest to break the seal of Confession?

It would certainly be a major step for the Church and priests to contend with.

If that happened I think the Church would have to encourage penitents to confess inaudibly to the priest and then the priest to pronounce absolution audibly.


It is important to remember that only God forgives, not the priest.

The priest, as minister of the Sacrament, only pronounces the words of absolution.


On one or two occasions in my 46 years I have heard things in Confession that made me feel that the penitent had further work to do on a matter discussed and on the question of restitution. This was always resolved in a kind, compassionate and mutually agreeable way.

I have never, ever, refused anyone absolution.

I too, and all priests, enter the Confessional as sinners.



Belfast Telegraph

Police have unlawfully refused to disclose whether or not an alleged prolific paedophile priest was a state informer, the High Court heard today.

Counsel for a victim of child sexual abuse claimed the PSNI has breached his human rights by maintaining a policy of neither confirming nor denying the suspected status of the late Fr Malachy Finnegan.

Judgment was reserved in the legal bid to have the force compelled to act on requests for information about the cleric’s alleged role as an agent.

Finnegan, who died in 2002, has been accused of a campaign of abuse while a teacher at St Colman’s College in Newry.

He worked at the school between 1967 and 1987, spending the last decade as its president.


MALACHY FINNEGAN, priest, teacher and headmaster was a prolific paedophile over many years.

He targetted generations of Newry schoolboys and destroyed many lives.

And when he died the RCC afforded him a full priest’s funeral presided over by the bishop JOHN MC AREAVEY.

Mc Areavey had to resign when the truth about Finnegan emerged.


It has now emerged that Finnegan, who lived in Republican Newry, was a British agent!

Was he given exemption from prosecution in return for giving the Brits information?

It looks like it.

How many people suffered because of Finnegan’s supply of information we will never know.


Cahal Daly once asked me to give information to the RUC and chief constable Sir John Hermon.

I immediately replied to him: “Do you not think there are enough informers in Northern Ireland as it is without the priests starting”?

There are many hidden things that have happened in Ireland when it comes to Church collusion with the state.

There have been bishops and priests who have colluded with the state.

There have also been clerics who colluded with the paramilitaries.

And there have been occasional clerics who have blood on their hands.