Skip to comments.Louisiana court's ruling that Catholic priest testify about confession criticized
Posted on 07/07/2014 8:34:10 PM PDT by narses
The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has issued a statement decrying a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court that could compel a local priest to testify in court about confessions he might have received. The alleged confessions, according to legal documents, were made to the priest by a minor regarding possible sexual abuse perpetrated by another church parishioner. The statement, published Monday (July 7) on the diocese's website, said forcing such testimony "attacks the seal of confession," a sacrament that "cuts to the core of the Catholic faith." The statement refers to a lawsuit naming the Rev. Jeff Bayhi and the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge as defendants and compels Bayhi to testify whether or not there were confessions "and, if so, what the contents of any such confessions were." "A foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for thousands of years mandates that the seal of confession is absolutely and inviolable,...
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Too much case law on this...it won’t stand.
Lutherans also believe that the seal of the confessional is absolute and inviolate.
Unfortunately very few Lutherans avail themselves of the opportunity to receive its protection, and, more importantly, the Holy Absolution.
Much like our Anglican/Episcopalian brethren. Sad, really.
So what do you do when someone comes in and confesses to having placed a series of bombs around the city?
Correct. The Priest/penitent privilege is inviolate.
You encourage them in the name of God to repent.
In this case though there was an “out of confessional conference’ with the family of the child. At that time the Priest should have informed the family that they had a duty to report the abuse and that he also had that duty. This would not have broken the seal of confession.
Tell them they're lost, the Mosque is down the street.
I fully support keeping it inviolate. — Unfortunately, the occasional guilty person walks away from a legal/criminal conviction because of it. OJ was the classic example. During his pre-trial confinement, he confessed that he had killed his wife, Nicole, to former football player and Reverend Rosie Grier and it was over heard by a prison guard. But anything the guard heard of the discussion was inadmissible at trial because it was a protected religious counseling.
He still cannot tell anyone outside of the confessional. But if someone tells a priest something like that, he’s not there for confession. Obviously, he can’t repent for a sin that he is about to commit and has no intention of not committing. It’s a rather extreme hypothetical.
Sure thing...works every time.... Not.
This is about priests abusing children and then confessing it. That is how the abuse has been allowed to continue for all too long
15 to 20 years ago, I might have agreed with you, but I don't believe that our government will recognise any limit to their power any longer.
The jailing of the priest for contempt of a court which is itself contemptuous of the law would make him a hero and a martyr in the public eye. It would also set an example of just how far the Church would go to protect the seal of the Confessional. He would also be a hero to fellow prisoners.
This scenario brings to mind the brilliant film entitled For Greater Glory or La Christiada dealing with the similar oppressions against Catholicism by the evil Marxist Mexican government of Plutarco Calles.
In today's Louisiana as in 1920s Mexico: Viva Cristo Rey!
It’s a nonsensical hypothetical. You can’t confess for a crime you have yet to commit. And if the “confession” is not for the purpose of the sacrament of reconciliation with the church, the seal does not attach.
In this case the girl confessed for what she perceived as sinful omissions on her part, and in doing so implicated someone else in a much greater sin. If the parents’ story is accurate, the priest royally screwed up and the diocese needs to do something with him... but the anti-Catholic canard that the confessional permits crimes doesn’t work either: she didn’t confess as a means of seeking justice.
It’s a tough case. The jury can’t presume that his refusal to testify is tacit admission, because he also wouldn’t be able to break the seal of the confessional to state if it were true that no such confession ever took place.
But it’s absolutely false that the seal of the confessional only protects the confessor. The very reason that priests stand for the entire community in the first place was so that confessors wouldn’t have to implicate others by their confession. Picture the turmoil that would be created if someone confessed to the entire community that they had an affair with a married person!
So now they just won’t confess. And you have gained what?
You call 911.
You are correct, BlackElk.