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Bless me, Father, and please keep my secret unless the courts say otherwise

No matter where or when, the Sacrament of Confession carries with it the guarantee of secrecy.
No matter where or when, the Sacrament of Confession carries with it the guarantee of secrecy.
Photo by Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images

Once again, people of faith have come under fire from the left. They have pushed their agenda of political correctness to change Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays, and morph Easter Break into Spring Break. Most of us have accepted these small, incremental changes to our societal mindset without too much objection. But then, they where trying to determine how far they could push and they gave us the HHS mandate under the auspices of Obamacare. That fight continues. Now we have another to contend with, and this one goes to the heart of the Catholic Church.

For two thousand years, the Catholic Church has maintained the inviolability of the Seal of Confession. The priest cannot divulge anything said within the confines of the Sacrament. Neither could the priest even reveal whether or not a confession was made. Through two milennia, priests have suffered torture, imprisonment, and death rather than break the Seal under pain of automatic excommunication.

Now, the left sees a way to try to chip away at sacrosanct priest-penitent privilege, a privilege even more revered than the attorney-client privilege, something that not even the left dare breach. Yet, several states have bills in the works that may require priests to divulge this information, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has spoken out against them, particularly a bill in Maryland. He has even gone so far as to tell priests to disobey these laws if they pass, and that he's willing to go to jail if need be.

The Supreme Court of Louisiana has now stepped into the fray. The case involves a lawsuit brought by the parents of a young girl who allegedly "engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with a grown man who also attended their church." The suit names the Rev. Jeff Bayhi and the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge as defendants. After hearing the case, the court has ruled to compel "Bayhi to testify whether or not there were confessions and, if so, what the contents of any such confessions were."

However, Canon Law (Church Law) states that no priest may ever reveal, under any circumstances, anything experienced in the confessional between the time a penitent says, "Bless me, Father for I have sinned" to the last words of absolution. Anything said in that time happens within the confines of the sacrament and cannot be revealed to anyone for any reason.

Rather than to try to compel a priest to reveal anything about any confession, the state needs to use law enforcement to do good old fashioned police work to do its job. Depose everyone involved, ask the questions, get the evidence, build the case. Law enforcement knows the name of the girl. She knows the name of the alleged offender. Take it from there. I'm sorry for the girl and her family, and the wrong-doer must be brought to justice, but compelling a priest to break the Seal of Confession is the wrong way to do it.

Just as the HHS mandate cannot stand, and Catholics cannot let themselves be coerced into doing something against their conscience, this latest attempt to strike at one of the Church's sacraments cannot go unanswered. Once again, all Catholics must band together to protect this very important 2,000-year-old privilege.The state has grown to believe itself all-powerful with no accountability to anyone or anything, but they have forgotten where their power comes from. We the People have voted them into office to organize and protect society, but our power to do so came from a still greater Power that they have forgotten in their hubris.