The ministry of reconciliation, which has been committed by Christ to his Church, is exercised through the care each Christian has for others through the common prayer of Christians assembled for public worship, and through the priesthood of the Church and its ministers declaring absolution.
The Reconciliation of a Penitent is available to all who desire it. It is not restricted to times of sickness. Confessions may be heard anytime and anywhere.
When a confession is heard in a Church, the confessor-priest may sit inside the altar rail or in a place set aside to give greater privacy, and the penitent kneels nearby. If preferred the confessor-priest and penitent may sit face to face for a spiritual conference leading to absolution or a declaration of forgiveness.
The content of a confession is not a normally a matter of subsequent discussion. The secrecy of a confession is morally absolute for the confessor-priest, and must under no circumstances be broken.