This post is appearing early (last week’s was late) but the reason is that I probably don’t have to see tomorrow’s headlines in order to know this is the most important news story of the week. Why? Because it involves very great danger to souls. LifesiteNews has reported a great offense against our Religious Freedom, handed down by the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana. What can we do? Pray for Fr. Jeff Bayhi, that the State of Louisiana recind its demand that he testify and break the seal of confession, AND that Fr. Bayhi will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to endure what he is called to suffer in order to protect the seal of confession. And then spread the call for a boycott of Louisiana, travel, meetings, products. We might even think of sending letters of support to Fr. Bayhi and to his bishop. Please read through to consider the question of whether or not Fr. Bayhi is being victimized by his strong stand against the HHS mandate. Here are excerpts from the story.
Louisiana diocese denounces court for compelling priest to break seal of confession
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has denounced the Louisiana Supreme Court decision that compels one of its priests to testify in court about confessions he may have heard. “A foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for thousands of years mandates that the seal of confession is absolute and inviolable,” the diocese said…. “Pursuant to his oath to the Church, a priest is compelled never to break that seal. This is not a gray area in the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church,” it said, noting that a priest who violates the seal of confession incurs an automatic excommunication.
“If necessary, the priest would have to suffer a finding of contempt in a civil court and suffer imprisonment rather than violate his sacred duty and violate the seal of confession and his duty to the penitent,” the diocese said. …the alleged confessions were made by a minor child to the priest, and pertained to sexual abuse of the minor by another church parishioner. The statement concerns a lawsuit naming Father Jeff Bayhi and the diocese as defendants…. Father Bayhi [is being compelled] to testify as to whether or not there were confessions and, if the confessions did occur, what the contents of the confessions were. But according to the diocese, a priest is not even “allowed to admit that someone went to confession to him.”
It would seem to be a fair question as to whether or not Fr. Bayhi’s strong stance against the HHS mandate has something to do with what can be viewed as harassment. The reason this court action is so significant is its blatant violation of the First Amendment Freedom of Religion. The damage of course to souls comes from the fear it might cause in souls to avoid confession, so necessary for forgiveness of sin and for the salvation of souls. This ruling strikes at the very heart of the Catholic Faith.
And isn’t this a timely comment from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in an interview from Russia today?
“If we confess something to our priest inside a church that would be private, but is it any different if we send our pastor a private email confessing a crisis that we have in our life?” said Snowden. He was advocating more encryption for doctors, lawyers, journalists and others handling sensitive information. It is interesting that he focused on the vulnerability of priests and the information they handle.
Tags: News and Media