Follow usTwitterFacebook


30 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Statue of St Junipero Serra defaced at California’s Carmel Mission

The vandalising of the statue took place days after St Junipero Serra was canonised by Pope Francis in Washington Days after St Junipero Serra was canonised …

Read more

02 Oct 2014 Articles No comments

With or Against God, no middle grounds

The Christian life is most practical and radical. We can tell who our master is by the way we live our lives, and we can know for certain that there are no m…

Read more

28 Aug 2016 Uncategorized Comments (1)

What is the requirement regarding yearly confession?

Full Question I have heard two different things regarding the requirement for yearly confession. One person said that we need to go to confession once a ye…

Read more

13 Oct 2016 News Comments (3)

Clinton campaign chief helped start Catholic organisations to create ‘revolution’ in the Church

Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief helped to create campaign groups to press for a “revolution” in the Catholic Church, according to leaked emails. John Podest…

Read more

03 Oct 2016 News Comments (1)

Religious tolerance is good for society and the soul, says Pope during mosque visit

Quoting a Muslim poet, Francis said religions should help people build better societies Pope Francis has called on religions to guide people towards the good, …

Read more

25 Oct 2016 News Comments (1)

3600 Christians and Jews slaughtered - Evidence of an invasion discovered in Jerusalem

When money was stolen from Jewish temples and over 3,600 citizens in Jerusalem were killed, the First Jewish Revolt began. Gessius Florus, a Roman procurator…

Read more

03 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (1)

Question: A priest told my girlfriend that it is okay for us to touch one another intimately before we are…

No. Jesus stated in Matthew 5:28 that a person can commit sins of sexual impurity even in his thoughts. He stated, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at …

Read more

30 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (1)

Why do Matthew and Mark list Thaddeus in the names of apostles, but Luke mentions another Judas?

Full Question Why is the listing of names for the twelve apostles in Matthew 10 and Mark 3 different from Luke 6? The first two evangelists list Thaddeus i…

Read more

18 Jan 2016 Articles Comments (5)

Saint Peter and the Eastern Orthodox

Modern Eastern ecclesiologists agree with Catholics that the apostles chose successors. But what authority did Jesus give to Peter himself? Catholics and Orthod…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Christian groups stand with diocese to protect Seal of Confession

Baton Rouge, La., Sep 30, 2014 / 04:44 pm .- Nearly 20 organizations, both Catholic and other denominations of Christian, have joined the Diocese of Baton Rouge in asking the Supreme Court to protect a priest from being forced to violate the Seal of Confession.

The group heading the support for the diocese, Catholic Action for Faith and Family, stated it “fully supports the Diocese of Baton Rouge’s position that ‘civil courts are entirely without jurisdiction to decide what constitutes a sacrament in the Catholic Church’.”

“For this reason Catholic Action has filed an Amicus Brief, supported by 17 other Catholic and Christian organizations. The brief decries the fact that the Louisiana Supreme Court has directed the trial court to hold an evidentiary hearing to decide whether or not a sacrament actually took place.”

The case in question is a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that a jury, not the Catholic Church, may determine if a priest’s conversation with a minor about sexual abuse was made in the Sacrament of Confession and thus is protected under confidentiality in state law.

The specific conversation between diocesan priest Fr. Jeff Bayhi and a minor who said she was abused by a parishioner allegedly took place during the Sacrament of Confession in May.

According to the court’s ruling, Fr. Bayhi could be forced to testify in court about the contents of confession, or whether it took place. However, under Church teaching, the “Seal of Confession” compels a priest not to reveal, under any circumstances, the contents of a confession. A violation of the seal incurs automatic excommunication.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him. He can make no use of knowledge that confession gives him about penitents’ lives.”

A state appeals court initially ruled that the alleged confession was “confidential” and thus Fr. Bayhi did not have to testify in court as to its alleged contents or whether it even took place.

However, the state Supreme Court reversed that decision, saying that the Seal of Confession did not shield Fr. Bayhi from mandatory reporting laws because the girl herself had waived her confidentiality privilege, so the priest could no longer invoke the privilege either.

The diocese is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

Eighteen organizations filed an amicus brief in support of the diocese, including the groups Catholic Answers, the Catholic League, Priests for Life, and John Paul the Great Catholic University.

However, the brief was also signed by a number of non-Catholic groups, including interdenominational Christian groups like Gospel of Life Ministries, the National Pro-Life Religious Council, the National Clergy Council, and the National Pro-Life Center.

“[We] have an interest in preserving the right of religions to define in their own view which communications are confessional and absolutely protected from disclosure, and to protect the right of ministers to refuse to break the seal of the confessional if their religious beliefs require the maintenance of that seal,” the 18 organizations wrote in an amicus brief supporting the diocese.

The groups emphasized that the case carries grave First Amendment implications.

Previous Supreme Court precedent makes clear, they stated, that the rights of priests and penitents “are protected not only by statutes, but also by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

The current state Supreme Court decision violates both the Religious Question Doctrine and the Ministerial Exception, principles that are already established, the groups claimed.

The Religious Question Doctrine deals with the government’s power to determine a religious claim from a secular point of view.

In this case, “the secular answer to the religious question of how to define a ‘Confession’ would override the religious answer,” the brief stated.

“The priest-penitent privilege stands solely on religious justifications. It is a practice unique to religion, and especially unique to the Catholic faith. Adopting any definition of a ‘Confession,’ beyond how a particular religion defines ‘Confession,’ will potentially override the religious definition of a ‘Confession’ and is constitutionally impermissible.”

The court ruling also violated the Ministerial Exception protections of the First Amendment, the groups claimed. In a 2012 ruling n Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government could not interfere in the employment of ministers by churches.

The brief cited that ruling, emphasizing that priests are automatically excommunicated – the highest canonical penalty – if they break the Seal of Confession, even if a court tries to force them to do so.

“This means that a priest who has incurred an automatic excommunication for breaking the seal is no longer allowed to act as a priest. He is disqualified from ministry as long as the excommunication is in effect. Thus, the action of the state of Louisiana would coerce priests into doing acts that will disqualify them from ministry in the Catholic Church and thus directly impact who the Church is able to appoint and retain as its ministers, in violation of Hosanna-Tabor,” the brief said.

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories