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Martyrs of the secrecy of Confession: What had the prisoners revealed?

On July 1, the Vatican issued a document about the “absolute inviolability” of the seal of confession, which mandates priests to keep everything about sacramental confession a complete secret, up to the point of shedding their blood before revealing anything.

Aleteia is offering you short biographies of some of the many priests who have died rather than violate the seal.

Part 2: Meet Father Mateo Correa Magallanes

(See the first biography hereMartyrs of the secrecy of Confession: The general wanted to know if they’d plotted against him)

Mateo 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. Yet he had 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.

You may try to do so, but you ignore the fact, General, that a priest must keep the secret of confession. I am ready to die.


He was ordained a priest at the seminary in Zacatecas on August 20, 1893. Father Correa 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 avail themselves of the Sacrament of Confession. His zeal and love for the faith inspired many of the youth to become part of the Catholic Association of Mexican Youth of the area. Father joined the Knights of Columbus, becoming a member of Council #2140 in Zacatecas.

Father Mateo’s talents were not to be restrained. 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 same conciliar seminary he had studied at 30 years earlier.

Read more at Aleteia. 

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