MN judge mulls forcing priest to break Seal of Confessional

[Fr.] Rice worked as a "spiritual director" at a St. Paul school for Jesuits-in-training and offered counseling to others, including priests. [Fr.] Stitts (accused of abuse) came to him seeking direction. "Whether or not I responded to him, I am not free to say," Rice said.

His attorney, Paul Engh, argued Thursday that there was no record Stitts ever gave his consent for other priests to share information, and the privilege "doesn't evaporate on death."

Archdiocese attorney Thomas Wieser said "there's nothing more sacred in the Catholic Church" than the confidentiality of the confessional.

Noaker wants Judge John Van de North to order Rice and two other priests to answer additional questions about Stitts. Van de North took the matter under advisement Thursday.

John Doe 104 sued the archdiocese in 2013, alleging Stitts sexually abused him in the 1970s at St. Leo's in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul and at St. George's at Long Lake while Stitts was serving at Long Lake.
full story at Pioneer Press 

I guess we could get technical and try to figure out what is protected under "spiritual direction" or "confession" although many times they end up being the same person.

1 comment:

  1. When a priest is your spiritual director I think their is no line because that private conversation could end in absolution at any time. What's the difference between that conversation taking place in the confessional or another place. What happens is the same thing. It would seem that when the director is not a priest something so intimate and so private a practice of ones religion that those conversations need to be protected by the free exercise clause of the first amendment. Only God is omnipotent, not the government or the courts. There are some place they may never go regardless of public safety. Imagine litigating that one.


Please contact if you have issues commenting.