Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 7 Num. 83

("Quid coniuratio est?")


Confessor and God Aren't Only Ones Listening

In CN 3.22 was brought to you Sherman Skolnick's report on how federal intelligence agencies were "bugging" the confessionals in St. Peter's Church in Chicago. Included was Mr. Skolnick's interview with an anonymous priest. Here are excerpts:

PRIEST: If the Attorney General's office "bugged" our confessionals, there'd be Hell to pay!

SKOLNICK: The U.S. Attorney in Chicago, who at the time was Jim Thompson.

PRIEST: Well there would be Hell to pay if he did! I would be suspended, just that quick, if I would condone anything like that. That's absolutely a violation of the confession. And that is part of the things that any ordinary priest cannot violate. So if he cannot tell it himself, he certainly would not be able to permit something with which anybody else could get the information.

It's against the whole, the whole teaching of the Catholic Church! I mean, the seal of confession, I mean even the Pope can't, has no right to ask a priest what he heard in confession. I mean, this has, this has been recognized by all the courts.

I just can't even, I can't even believe that this happened, that anybody would be that stupid!

Now comes an Associated Press story (05/11/96 in the local newspaper) about this same sort of thing having occurred in an Oregon jailhouse. Investigators, says the article, secretly tape recorded a murder suspect's confession to a Catholic priest.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, is quoted as saying, "It's an absolute outrage. They used this priest. They brought him in to perform the sacrament of reconciliation [confession]. And then they bugged him."

The confession was heard by the Rev. Timothy Mockaitis. The suspect, Conan Wayne Hale, apparently believed that the prosecutors would not dare invade the special relation between clergy and their followers.

This info is passed along as tending to corroborate Mr. Skolnick's report as contained in CN 3.22.

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt. Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9