Louisiana high court upholds seal of confession
October 31, 2016
The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that priests are not required to report child abuse when they hear about the abuse in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“A priest when administering the sacrament of confession has no duty to report any confidential communications made during the confession that, by the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church, he is authorized to hear and is also duty bound to keep confidential,” the court ruled on October 28.
The ruling comes in a long-running case in which Father Jeff Bayhi, a priest of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, had been directed to testify about what a 14-year-old allegedly told him in Confession. The young woman has said that she told Father Bayhi about being molested by a member of his parish. Father Bayhi had refused to testify, citing the inviolability of the confessional seal.
- Priests can't legally be forced to reveal what's heard in confessional, Louisiana Supreme Court rules (Baton Rouge Advocate)
- Louisiana Supreme Court Says No Mandatory Reporting of Abuse Discovered In Confessional (Religion Clause)
- Louisiana court: woman may testify about what she said to priest in Confession (CWN, 8/3/16)
- Louisiana judge strikes down law that requires priest to report abuse mentioned in confession (2/29/16)
- US Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of Louisiana case challenging confessional seal (CWN, 1/20/15)
- Diocese denounces Louisiana court order for priest to break confessional seal (CWN, 7/8/14)
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