A Louisiana judge has ruled that a state law requiring clergy to report child abuse or other crimes learned in the confessional is unconstitutional because it infringes on religious liberty.
Seal of the Confessional and the Catholic Church
Faith and Justice: A Louisiana court case has raised several issues in regards to whether or not a priest can reveal the content of a confession in court.
Louisiana's Supreme Court has ruled that a priest may be compelled to testify as to what he heard in the confessional in 2008 concerning an abuse case.
The priest, Fr. Jeff Bayhi, faces automatic excommunication if he breaks the seal of the confessional. But he also could face jailing if found to be in contempt of the court should he refuse to testify.
In the case, a girl who was 14 in 2008 said she told her parish priest -- Bayhi, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Zachary -- in the confessional that she was abused by a now-dead lay member of the parish.
The case involves the possible confession of a 12-year-old girl who told the priest she was abused by a church parishioner in 2008.