|USA||WOUNDED PRIEST GUARDS SECRET OF THE CONFESSIONAL|
An Ohio priest stabbed while hearing his attacker's confession has refused to testify against his assailant because of the confessional seal.
The Tablet reports that Fr Charles Mentrup, 41, an associate pastor at Incarnation parish, Middletown, was attacked on 5 May at his home. He was taken to hospital and treated for a knife wound to the abdomen.
A statement from the police in Cincinnati said that a suspect, 25-year-old Marcus Finefrock, had turned himself in on the night of 7 May - but that without the priest's testimony a conviction was unlikely.
Fr Mentrup has cited canon law which forbids a confessor "to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason".
A spokesman for the diocese of Cincinnati said that there was widespread support for the priest and that, although a guilty person might go free, the principle of confessional secrecy was of the greater importance.
|22 May 00|