Q. 1. I heard that there are instances when absolution can be denied during the Sacrament of Confession if a person has committed a crime. Can you expand on this matter.
A. 1. You are correct in saying that there are instances when absolution can be denied during the Sacrament of Confession if a person has committed a crime. Allow me to explain.
As a general rule, a person who has committed a crime is not required to confess to the authorities as a condition of receiving absolution during the Sacrament of Confession.
But in a situation where a person has committed a crime for which another person has been falsely accused and that person is serving time for that particular crime, then the sinner is obligated by moral conscience to go to the authorities and admit to his crime so the innocent person may be released from prison.
The Catholic Church teaches that one condition for genuine contrition in the Sacrament of Confession is that the penitent is not planning or is not in the process of doing something that is in fact another serious sin. To remain silent about an innocent person sitting in prison for a crime he/she has not committed is a serious sin for which absolution cannot be granted.