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.
!Viva Cristo Rey!
The penitent may be required--as a condition for receiving absolution--to place a call to 911 alerting the authorities. Right then and right there. The Confessor certainly may place that same call at the conclusion of the confession. The seal of the confessional applies only to the Confessor. The penitent is free to talk about what has taken place. The Confessor may not, even then, confirm or deny.
IMO, it is state law involved here, not federal. I guess there is no basis in law for the exemption in La which surprises me given its French based system.
Federally the specific issue is covered by law which would either have to be changed or overturned i.e. doctor patient, marrital, priest penitent and the like.
You have the same shameful abuse continuing that the catholics have hidden and allowed for all too long. It is indicative of a lack of a moral compass. The history of abuse within the catholic church in America (and probably other places as well ) is well known. It is a stain on the church that seems to just continue growing. The justifications given don’t wash. God will hold them all responsible
2. While the proven abuses are indeed shameful, just what do you imagine do those abuses by a very small cadre of evil priests have to do with the attempt of state judges to abolish, disable, destroy the confidential relationship between priest and penitent which is, I assure you, quite old and quite necessary?
3. If you imagine that the Catholic Church lacks a moral compass, in a free country like the USA, you are free to belong to any other church or none. What you are not free to do is to force the violation of the seal of the confessional, NO MATTER WHAT the circumstances.
\ 4. The seal of the confessional protects the penitent but it also protects the priest and it protects innocent third parties whose alleged transgressions are reported to the priest in the confessional and not always accurately: "Father, I raped Susie and Billy, Bob and Jeff helped" but Jeff was not there any more than the priest was there. The priest is not competent to testify as to who was or was not there. Such testimony should be precluded as rank hearsay, a principle that was NOT invented by the Catholic Church but, for our purposes, by essentially Protestant judicial authorities in the system of Anglo-American common law.
5. Again, If Louisiana judges are allowed by the judicial system to attempt to engage in this gross violation of civil liberties, today is a good day to die as Plains Indian warriors used to say before battle, including Little Big Horn where they anticipated Patton's view that the purpose of the exercise is not to die for your (principles or country) but to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his.
6. The judges can do no more than hold the priest in contempt of court and order him jailed until he complies but they are also NOT allowed to keep him in jail when it is obvious that the coercion is not working and will not work. See the similar defiance of judicial authority by Bernardine Dohrn (Bill Ayres' wife and the radical queen). The priest should be proud to be jailed for contempt under such circumstances and should make a public statement affirming that he has absolute contempt for any judges or courts involved in violating the law to try to break the seal of the confessional.
7. The Vatican should take note of all this and, if the priest is otherwise qualified, consecrate him as a bishop, naming him as one while jailed, if possible. When the late Auxiliary Bishop of the New York Archdiocese Austin Vaughan was jailed in New York for entering an abortion mill and helping to stop the killing there, he served his sentence as though it was a reward. Upon release from prison, he made NYC headlines by arranging a press interview at the gates of the jail and telling them: "MARIO CUOMO IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL!"
Today is a good day to die: VIVA CRISTO REY!
That decision should get squashed like a bug on First Amendment grounds.
If not...as a practical matter, they’re asking him to reconstruct the times and content of confessions that happened five or six years ago. I frankly doubt he would be able to do it with any reliability even if he wanted to.
Napoleon took the following extraordinary measures in his unsuccessful war to destroy the papacy:
1. He arrested and imprisoned as "Citizen Pope" both Pius VI and Pius VII.
2. He seized the Papal States (central Italy including Rome and the Vatican) to be part of Napoleon's short-lived empire, with Napoleon purporting to be the civil ruler of the Papal States.
3. Finally, Pius VII, having returned to Rome, excommunicated anyone participating in the invasion of the Papal States.
It should be noted that the USA under Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory (about a third of the lower 48 states as they are today) from Napoleon who was cash strapped (as authoritarians tend to be) for what seems like a modest price in gold. Jefferson did not disturb Code Napoleon in Louisiana (the future state) and replace it with Anglo-American law. Our federal court system has knocked off some of the rough edges.
God will each of us responsible at the final judgment....nothing presumtuous about that at all.
Your other comments require no response
God will judge each of us. What is presumptuous is the implication of your post that God will necessarily agree with your opinions of what those judgments will be. That discretion is His not yours or mine. Otherwise we would set ourselves up as judges over God which seems rather unlikely.
I never said God would agree with my opinions...because you decide to read into a comment does not make it true.
The abuse in the roman church speaks for itself......