Reconciliation of a Penitent or “Confession”
The Sacramental Rite of Reconciliation, commonly called Confession, is available to all who desire it. The ministry of reconciliation has been committed by Christ to his Church through the common prayer of Christians in public worship and through the priesthood of the Church, by ordained bishops and priests when declaring absolution. For Anglican (i.e. Episcopal) priests and bishops, the Seal of Confession is absolute, and must under no circumstances be broken by them.
Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, Confession or Reconciliation of a Penitent is not mandatory, but available. When referring to the practice of auricular Confession, we often say, “Some may, none must, all should”. At. St. John’s, we put particular emphasis on Private Confession of Penitents during the Season of Lent, and make it available by appointment then, as well as it being available all throughout the year. (See “The Reconciliation of a Penitent”, Book of Common Prayer, p 447.)