We are in very troublesome times for the Catholic Church, as you can tell by this case in Louisiana.
Louisiana Supreme Court is trying to compell a Baton Rouge priest to testify in court about what he may have heard in the confessions of a minor girl who was sexually abused by another church parishioner.
This would break of the seal of confession.
What happened is this: A 12 year old girl in Fr. Jeff Bayhi's parish in Baton Rouge was sexually abused by another parishioner. So, she told Rev. Bayhi about it in confession, so she claims. Thus, the Louisiana Supreme Court is ordering Rev. Bayhi to testify whether he did hear her confession, and, if so what she said.
No priest, even under the pain of death, may violate the seal of confession, no matter who is compelling him to.
The Louisiana Supreme Court knows very well that what they are asking of Rev. Bayhi is a breaking of the seal of confession which is an inherent part of the Catholic Church. This is an attack on the Catholic Faith.
Thankfully, the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana has denounced the ruling.
Responding to the court’s error, the Baton Rouge diocese said that “the seal of confession is absolute and inviolable,” and Father Bayhi is prohibited by canon law from divulging anything that he heard in the course of a confession. The court’s decision “assaults the heart of a fundamental doctrine of the Catholic faith,” the diocesan statement said.
“This matter cuts to the core of the Catholic faith, and for a civil court to inquire as to whether or not a factual situation establishes the Sacrament of Confession is a clear and unfettered violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States,” the diocese charged.
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