On the Seal of the Confession

Someone asked Dr. M. Luther and said: If a pastor and father confessor had absolved a woman who had killed her child, and it was later revealed and made known by other people, would the preacher also have to testify to the judge if he were asked about it?  Then he [Luther] answered: Absolutely not!  For one must distinguish between churchly and worldly government since she has confessed it not to me but to the Lord Christ, and if Christ keeps a secret, I should also keep it secret and say nothing more than: I have heard nothing; if Christ has heard something, let Him tell it” (XXII,879).  (Walther’sPastorale, 126-127)

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