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US diocese asks Supreme Court to reverse decision compelling priest to break confessional seal


CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Source:
Catholic Herald UK
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
9/5/2014

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ABSTRACT US diocese asks Supreme Court to reverse decision compelling priest to break confessional seal | CatholicHerald.co.uk Sun 7th Sep 2014 | Last updated: Fri 5th Sep 2014 at 16:57pm Home Latest News Features Comment & Blogs Multimedia Catholic Life Spiritual Life Saint of the week The week ahead The word this week Archive Jobs Advertising Subscribe Hot Topics Pope Francis Pope Benedict XVI Papal Visit 2010 general audience Vatican Latest News US diocese asks Supreme Court to reverse decision compelling priest to break confessional seal By Catholic News Service on Friday, 5 September 2014 In This Article Diocese of Baton Rouge , Louisiana , seal of Confession , Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese , US , US Supreme Court Share Share | Related Posts Mother who prayed to Fulton Sheen speaks of ‘confusion and sadness’ after Cause is suspended Priest comforts Foley family after ‘killing of journalist’ Iraqi Christians ‘dying in crowded refugee camps’ Pope’s envoy travels to Iraq to help presecuted Christians US Chaldeans call on President Obama to help end ‘genocide’ of Iraqi Christians Zemanta Under canon law, the seal of confession is sacred under the penalty of excommunication (CNS) The diocese of Baton Rouge has asked the US Supreme Court to reverse a Louisiana Supreme Court decision that a priest may be compelled to testify as to what he heard in the confessional in 2008 concerning an abuse case. The legal step is the latest in a case involving Father Jeffrey Bayhi, pastor of St John the Baptist Church in Zachary, Louisiana, and the sanctity of the seal of confession. The petition to the US Supreme Court comes after a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling in May outlining arguments that priests are subject to mandatory reporting laws regarding abuse of minors if the person who made the confession waives confidentiality. The state Supreme Court opened the door for a hearing in which the priest would testify about what he heard in the confessional. Under canon law, the seal of confession is sacred under the penalty of excommunication. In the case, a girl who was 14 in 2008 said she told her parish priest, Father Bayhi, in the confessional that she was abused by a now-dead lay member of the parish. The girl’s parents sued Father Bayhi and the Diocese of Baton Rouge 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, before the state’s highest court reversed and vacated the appellate court’s decision. NOLA.com reported that the young woman was identified as Rebecca Mayeux, now 20, in an interview with WBRZ, a Baton Rouge television station. She told the station that Father Bayhi told her to “take care of it” after she told him of the abuse when participating in the sacrament of reconciliation. In a documents filed with the US Supreme Court on August 21, the diocese said the state Supreme Court ruling threatens “Church autonomy.” The diocese cited case law from a court decision involving the Serbian E.......