IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
by Larry Peterson
The Sacrament of Penance is a magnificent gift we Catholics have been given and the beauty of its effectiveness is encapsulated into what is known as the Seal of Confession. Anyone who goes to confession has the absolute certainty that whatever he or she confesses to the priest will NEVER, no matter what, leave that confessional. Confession is between the penitent and Christ. The priest represents Christ and is able to talk to the penitent, advise and counsel them, or simply listen to them. When the person is finished confessing the priest asks that person to say an “Act of Contrition”. This is when the person expresses their sorrow for the sins they have confessed. Then the priest imparts Absolution . It is one of the most beautiful prayers there is and this is where God is called upon to give pardon to the sinner.
Not all judges, politicians and lawyers are secularists; but there are many who are. It seems that many of these folks are ideologically bent and have become true Machiavellians (people that believe that the “end justifies the means”). Forget “Natural Law”, cast out common sense, trash the Ten Commandments, because none of that matters anymore. As long as the needs of those demanding “change” are satisfied we have attained “virtue”. This is “hogwash” but the Supreme Court of Louisiana thinks differently. It has ruled that Father Jeff Bayhi, a priest for 35 years, a man who has served the poor and downtrodden and worked hand in hand with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, may have to testify about an “alleged” confession.
Apparently, a girl who was 14 in 2008, says she went to confession to Father Bayhi at the time and told him that she was abused by a now dead parishioner. The girl’s parents sued Father Bayhi and the Diocese of Baton Rouge for failing to report the abuse. The parents won their case in district court which said that Father Bayhi must testify. Louisiana’s First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision but then the State Supreme Court once again sided with the parents. The state’s highest court said that Father Bayhi may be subject to “mandatory reporting” laws regarding sexual abuse and cannot invoke the privilege of “confidentiality”. There you have it; the “virtue of secularism”. It is not enough to have this young woman, who is now 20 years old, tell the police and state’s attorneys her story. It is not enough to have years of the documentation on hand that is required to even pursue the case. The accused abuser is dead. SO–let’s get the priest to violate the “Seal of the Confessional”. The accused abuser never confessed and, even if that were the case, the Seal of the Confessional is inviolate. The priest is bound to silence, silence forever.
Our nation is founded under the Judeo-Christian principle which is followed by Natural Law. Our First Amendment guarantees Freedom of Religion. A foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, which has been in effect for two thousand years and is part of a Sacrament instituted by Christ Himself, mandates that the “Seal of Confession” is absolute and inviolable. A priest must NEVER break the Seal. He cannot even admit that someone went to confession to him. No-one, not even the Pope himself, can mandate a priest violate this oath. The priest would have to suffer the civil and criminal consequences, even death if necessary, rather than betray this most sacred of trusts.
The Diocese of Baton Rouge explained in their statement that, “a priest is under the gravest of obligations NOT to reveal the contents of a confession or if the confession even took place. He cannot do so even under threat of imprisonment or civil penalty, and incurs automatic excommunication if he breaks the “seal of confession”. The Church takes this pretty serious, don’t you think?
The secular world has grown not only intrusive into the world of Catholicism but it has become overly obnoxious, nasty, vitriolic and downright hateful. Under the banner of “virtue” secularism honors abortion, euthanasia and sexual promiscuity as a right and a necessity akin to breathing and eating and sleeping. These secularists, some who claim to be Catholic, support these behaviors and are against any kind of “moral” boundaries. Sadly, many court decisions support their beliefs. One thing they need to understand–they can NEVER nullify, invalidate or strike down the magnificence and profound power of the “Seal of Confession”. Do not be surprised if this case winds up in the United States Supreme Court.