Sacramentum Poenitentiae was an apostolic constitution published by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741. It is a four-page document establishing general notice of the problem of sexual abuse amongst the clergy in the Roman Catholic Church.

It was the fifth document in the canon-law book that was used to train all priests between 1918 and 1982. Specifically, the Sacramentum Poenitentiae addresses the soliciting of sex from people, including children, by priests during confession.

The document has been cited often in legal battles surrounding the sexual abuse of children by the Catholic clergy, usually as a rebuttal to church officials' claims that they were unaware of the occurrences of abuse.


  • Wall, Patrick as told to Jim Brosseau (October 2005). "The Sins of My Fathers". GQ Magazine, p. 203.
  • Fanning, William H. W. (2003). Solicitation. The Catholic Encyclopedia Volume XIV Online Edition.

See also

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