On July 1, 2019, The Vatican issued the Note of the Apostolic Penitentiary about the inviolability of the Sacramental Seal aka the Seal of Confession. The highlighted links will give you the full documents.
A Sacrament is of God—not man. “the sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason.” CCC 2490
THE STORY OF SAINT MATEO CORREA MAGALLANES
Correa Magallanes was born in Tepechitian, Mexico on July 23, 1866. His family was poor, and his initial elementary education was not of high quality. He possessed excellent academic skills, and benefactors stepped in and assisted the boy in getting into a much better school in Guadalajara. He finished his elementary schooling in 1879. In January of 1881, he was able to enter the conciliar seminary that was located in Zacatecas.
He was ordained a priest at the seminary in Zacatecas on August 20, 1893. Father Magallanes quickly became well-known in the area he served. His enthusiasm for his priestly work and his dedication made him stand out.
He was an excellent homilist and managed to inspire many people to return to confession. His zeal and love for the faith inspired many of the youth to become part of the Catholic Association of Mexican Youth in the area. Father, joined the Knights of Columbus, becoming a member of Council #2140 in Zacatecas.
After several years, Father’s talents were not to be localized. He initially assumed he would be assigned to a specific parish and stay there. But that did not happen. Instead, his priestly ministry began requiring him to serve in many different positions in various places. He was chaplain at San Miguel in Valparaiso, then he was appointed the assistant vicar in the same place. He became the chaplain of Mazapil in Zacatecas, a parish priest in Concepcion del Oro, Colotlan, Jalisco, Noria de Los Angeles, Guadalupe, and others. In 1923 he was assigned as vice-rector of the conciliar seminary from where he was ordained 30 years earlier.
In 1924 Plutarco Calles became President of Mexico. He hated Catholics and using the power of the revised constitution, which basically shut down all things Catholic, he set out to fully implement these “laws.” His actions would result in what is known as the Cristero War, and many thousands would lose their lives. Calles main focus was on the priesthood and religious throughout Mexico.
Under Calles, the persecution, imprisonment, and executions of priests, religious, and Catholics in general escalated quickly. Father Magallanes, like many other priests, tried to do his ministerial work in secret. He would say Mass in people’s homes, in their barns, in fields, or wherever he could without being detected. He would visit the sick and administer Last Rites and hear confessions as much as possible. However, he could not hide forever.
It was the beginning of February of 1927 when Father Magallanes was caught by the soldiers. He was on his way to bring Viaticum to a dying woman. When he saw the soldiers coming, he quickly consumed the consecrated Host to avoid it being desecrated. Father was arrested and taken to a nearby jail.
There were other prisoners in the jail and after a few days the commanding officer, general Eulogio Ortiz, gave Father Magallanes permission to hear their confessions. Father gladly did his priestly duty, knowing most of these prisoners would be dying very soon.
As soon as he had heard the confessions, General Ortiz brought him into a room and demanded that he tell him what the prisoners had told him in confession. Father refused. General Ortiz told the priest they would “make him tell.” Father told him, “You may try do so, but you ignore the fact, General, that a priest must keep the secret of confession. I am ready to die.”
Father Correa Magallanes underwent several days of torture but would not relent. At dawn on February 6, 1927, Father was taken to a nearby cemetery. General Ortiz pointed a gun at his head and told him he had one more chance to save his life. Father Magallanes looked at him and the other soldiers holding their rifles pointed at him. His answer was quite simple, “Viva Cristo Rey.” (Long Live Christ the King)
The priest died as a volley of bullets tore through his body. Once again, the Sacred Seal of Confession was not broken.
Father Magallanes was canonized a saint by Pope St. John Paul II on May 21, 2000 along with 25 other martyrs, mostly priests, from the Cristero War.
copyright©Larry Peterson 2019