Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/10/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Priest called to testify in abuse case.

The Louisiana Supreme Court is seeking to compel a Catholic priest to violate the confessional privilege under the state's mandated reporting laws. Under Canon Law, priests are prohibited from disclosing what is discussed in the confessional.

The seal of the sacrament of confession cannot be violated.

The seal of the sacrament of confession cannot be violated.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/10/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Priest, confession, abuse, seal, louisiana, supreme court


BATON ROUGE, LA (Catholic Online) - The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge is criticizing a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court which seeks to require a priest to break the seal of confession and testify to what he was told by a penitent during the sacrament of confession.

This order would violate Canon Law, the law of the Church, which requires that a priest never disclose what is revealed to him in the confessional. .

Pray for all victims of abuse and the Church in these times.

A statement released by the Diocese says that Rev. Jeff Bayhi and the Diocese itself are defendants in a case where they are being compelled by the court to say whether they heard a confession and what the contents of that confession were.

The specific case involves an allegation of sexual abuse in which a minor daughter of some parishioners claim that she was subjected to inappropriate sexual conduct (abuse) at the hands of an adult parishioner. The child was 12 at the time the alleged abuse occurred.

According to the local sheriff, an investigation was ongoing when the accused man died in 2009 of a sudden heart attack. Local officials say the Church is required under mandated reporting laws to disclose such information to the authorities. The diocese is also accused of failing to train Father Bayhi to report such incidents.

However the Church teaching is very clear on this subject. The seal of confession is sacred and any priest who breaks that seal excommunicates himself, instantly.

Although the Church has been accused of sheltering child abusers, it has taken a hard line stance under Pope Benedict XVI and even harder under Francis. However, these reforms which target clergy who participate in cover-ups, do not change the sacred seal of confession which remains at the core of the Catholic understanding of the Confessional seal.

What is happening is that a civil court is infringing on the religious freedom of the Church..

It is not that the Church wants to protect a deceased man or that the word of the child is disputed. It is that the Church simply cannot comment on whether or not a confession took place and if so, what the details of that confession were. It simply isn't allowed under any circumstances.

"For a civil court to impinge upon the freedom of religion is a clear violation and the matter will be taken to the highest court in the land by the Church in order to protect its free exercise of religion," the statement said.

Unfortunately, while the issue is clear to the Church, it is not clear to the lawyers and judges. A reputation of concealing sexual abuse within the Church has created an attitude of mistrust and  hostility towards priests and anyone in the Church who is seen as trying to cover for a crime.

Worse, specific testimony by the child claims that Father Bayhi told the girl to resolve the matter herself because otherwise "too many people would be hurt."

The child allegedly told Father Bayhi that the man had emailed her excessively and asked to "make love to her." Eventually he touched and kissed her inappropriately.

An appeals court originally ruled that confessions are privileged communications and that mandated reporting does not apply in the confessional, but the state supreme court ruled that confidentiality can only be claimed on behalf of the confessor.

In this case the girl testified to what she said, thus waiving her right to confidentiality. In other words, confidentiality does not apply because the girl told the court in deposition what happened in the confessional.

Whether or not Father Bayhi gave poor advice to a hurting child who was a victim of abuse is a separate matter. Certainly, if he failed in his ministry to protect a child whom he knew was subject to abuse then he should answer for this before God and the Church.

However, the seal of the sacrament of confession is not up for debate or discussion. Supreme courts have jurisdiction over men but they have no jurisdiction over God's law, which is not subject to their review no matter how hard they try.

Fr. Bayhi may not disclose the content of a confession under penalty of excommunication. Nor should he be forced to. The precedent this would establish is far too serious to permit exception.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find–even within the huge cities of the world–opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More U.S.

America has become craven, that's why Satan is winning Watch

Image of Our nation is in decline. Is there any wonder why?

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country! (Four Star General, George S. Patton, U.S. Army, 1885-1945)About three generations ago, our nation was not to be trifled with. The Japanese learned ... continue reading


After Brussels and Istanbul, CIA director warns America Watch

Image of ISIS is coming. Are we ready?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The CIA is warning that ISIS could carry out an attack in the United States soon. The attack could be similar to one that recently killed 50 people at an airport in Istanbul, Turkey. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - CIA Director, John Brennan has said that ISIS ... continue reading


Car accident reveals OBGYN's dark secret - Abortion drugs and human tissues discovered Watch

Image of Abortionist Michael Arthur Roth was caught with human tissue and Fentanyl in his vehicle after a car accident (FOX2).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Michigan OBGYN Michael Arthur Roth was involved in a car accident last September. What police found in his trunk and glove box resulted in his immediate arrest with nine charges. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When Roth was involved in a car accident in September ... continue reading


The Vindication of Governor Bob McDonnell, Persevering Faith and the Friends of Job Watch

Image of Former Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell emerges victorious at the US Supreme Court

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In 2014, the former Governor of Virginia, a genuine Catholic Christian named Robert "Bob" McDonnell, was wrongfully convicted of committing a federal offense while in office. Both as his friend and as a constitutional lawyer, I paid very close attention to the ... continue reading


Can YOU find 'super racist' message on this Red Cross poster? Watch

Image of Woman realizes pool safety notice for children encourages racism (Margaret Sawyer).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Margaret Sawyer noticed a Red Cross safety poster at a public pool in Salida, CO. She took a moment to take a closer look then internally shook her head at what she thought was an outdated guide - until she spotted it again at across town. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


BREAKING: Supreme Court rules AGAINST women, still okay to kill girls, mothers in abortion mills Watch

Image of A abortion kills children. Why don't people understand this?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Supreme Court has ruled against the state of Texas, and women, deciding that abortionists do not need to follow common sense safety measures before killing babies, and sometimes their mothers. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A liberal, 5-3 vote by the ... continue reading


No more white majority? US will soon see no majority race Watch

Image of The United States will soon be a country without racial majority within the next few decades (Alamy).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Adorable little babies born in the United States have no idea they are reshaping the nation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to new population estimates from the Census Bureau, racial and ethnic minorities made up 50.2 percent of babies under 1-year-old ... continue reading


'Protests are a vital part of democracy': Freddie Gray case continues as another officer is found innocent Watch

Image of Freddie Gray was killed by police after they attempted to drag him into a police van (Gray family).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

When 25-year-old Freddie Gray's spine was nearly severed as he was dragged into a police van last April, the city of Baltimore erupted - and it might just flare up again. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On April 12, 2015, Gray ran from officers when they attempted ... continue reading


Gallup survey finds less than 4 percent identify as LGBT Watch

Image of Less than 4 percent of the population is LGBT, but they command substantial political clout.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Less than four percent of U.S. adults consider themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), a Gallup survey finds. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - According to a survey by Gallup, 3.9 percent of U.S. adults consider themselves LGBT. The number of ... continue reading


Supreme Court issues four rulings, do they affect you or someone you know? Watch

Image of The Supreme Court has issued rulings in four cases today.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Supreme Court has issued rulings on four cases today. Those cases involve affirmative action, immigration, drunk driving laws, and repeat offender laws. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Supreme Court has issued rulings in four cases. Here are their ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Amos 7:10-17
10 Amaziah the priest of Bethel then sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11
8 The precepts of Yahweh are honest, joy for the heart; the commandment ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:1-8
1 He got back in the boat, crossed the water and came to his home ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 30th, 2016 Image

First Martyrs of the See of Rome
June 30: The holy men and women are also called the ... Read More