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.full story at Pioneer Press
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.
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.