Latest

18 Sep 2015 Americas News No comments

Papal message to Cuban people

Pope Francis has sent a video-message to the people of Cuba on the eve of his apostolic journey there. Jesus “knows better than anyone else what everyone nee…

Read more

21 Sep 2016 Articles Comments (1)

The Born-Again Agnostic: Salvation, Part I

“Are you saved?" It’s a question Catholics get all the time from “Bible Christians." The average Catholic replies with a resounding “I dunno." But E…

Read more

19 Jan 2016 News Vatican No comments

Pope Francis met with Royals of Monaco

The Holy Father on monday met with Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco. A brief Vatican statement released after the meeting indicated that the …

Read more

25 Aug 2016 Uncategorized Comments (3)

May Catholics ever marry non-Christians?

Full Question Is a Catholic allowed to marry a non-Christian under any circumstances? I know Scripture states not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, b…

Read more

29 Nov 2016 News No comments

In Syrian monastery, priest who escaped ISIS sees signs of hope

The fourth-century saint Mar Elian’s relics survived the Islamic State’s destruction of the Syrian monastery that bears his name, and a priest who escaped capti…

Read more

28 Oct 2016 News No comments

Catholic women release statement condemning ‘toxic politics of fear’ ahead of presidential election

Mothers, academics and religious said elections should be a national examination of conscience Seventy Catholic women, including the presidents of two leading …

Read more

09 Sep 2015 Middle East News No comments

Arab Israelis join protest against cuts in funding for Christian schools

Arab students in Israel went on strike on September 7, in an expression of support for the country’s Christian schools. The 400,000 striking students joined …

Read more

20 May 2015 Vatican No comments

Archbishop Romero named co-patron of Caritas

Archbishop Óscar Romero, who will be beatified on May 23, has been named co-patron of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s confederation of relief and developm…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
«
»

Louisiana district judge’s verdict upholds clergy-penitent privilege

Fr. Jeffrey Bayhi, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Louisiana, has personally made a solemn vow never testify and violate the sanctity of the seal of confession, if asked on the witness stand, about what someone may or may not have told him during confession.

Depending on the state or country, most places fully protect a Catholic priest from revealing the contents of confession.

State Supreme Court Judge Mike Caldwell said that a state law making it mandatory for a clergy to report sex abuse of minors clearly violates a priest’s religious freedom protections for confidential confessions.

The ruling involves a case of a girl, Rebecca Mayeaux, now 22 who as at 2008 was just 14 years. She said she told her parish priest, Bayhi (who was then, the parish priest of a Catholic Church in Clinton, some 35miles Northeast of Baton Rouge) in the confessional that she was abused by a 64-year-old, now-dead lay member of the parish.

The girl’s parents sued Bayhi and the Baton Rouge diocese for failing to report the abuse. The parents won at the district court level about compelling the priest to testify, but they lost in Louisiana’s First Circuit Court of Appeals,

Mayeaux claims that the priest responded to the abuse report by telling her to “sweep it under the floor and get rid of it," the Associated Press reports.

Fr. Bayhi said he has a duty to hold in confidence any information obtained during a confessional session and that he would face automatic excommunication if he violates that trust.

“If we ever violate the seal, it’s over. It’s finished," he said in court, adding that he would “absolutely not" knowingly violate the seal of confession.

“If that’s not sacred, no one would ever trust us."

A foundation doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for thousands of years mandates that the seal of confession is absolute and inviolable. According to the seal of confession, Father Bayhi cannot even say if he heard the girl’s confession(s), and if he did, cannot divulge anything that was spoken of within the sacrament.

Most States provide for clergy-penitent privilege within rules of evidence or civil procedure. Parts of the Louisiana law grants an exception when abuse allegations are revealed during confidential religious communication such as confession.

Judge Caldwell’s ruling upholds the confidence and trust of a privileged confession. The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason

“We’re just always happy when the court upholds religious liberties," Fr. Bayhi said when he left the courthouse.

Bishop Robert Muench of Baton Rouge in a statement extended his sympathy to the plaintiff and at the same time his appreciation on the outcome of the ruling:

“I extend my compassion and offer prayer not only for the plaintiff who may have been harmed by the actions of a man who was not an employee of the church, but also for all who have been abused by anyone," he said.

In appreciation of the ruling, he added, “the court’s decision to uphold the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion is essential."

The alleged abuser passed away in 2009.

 

 










wpsd_autopost:
1

2 comments

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    “Mayeaux claims that the priest responded to the abuse report by telling her to “sweep it under the floor and get rid of it,” Wow. He’s lucky that wasn’t my daughter.

  2. will Reply

    She’s lucky she’s not your child, too.

Leave a Reply

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