Louisiana Ruling On Confession Has Catholics Up In Arms
A recent Louisiana Supreme Court ruling that says a priest should have called the police regarding being told about alleged sexual abuse during confession has Catholics up in arms.
The case in question is from 2009 when a 14 year old girl confided in her priest at least 3 times during confession that a 64 year old church parishioner had "inappropriately touched her, kissed her and told her that 'he wanted to make love to her,'" according to court documents.
Her parents are pushing that the priest should have said something.
In a court deposition, the girl said Bayhi told her to handle the situation herself because "too many people would be hurt" otherwise. She said when she asked for advice from the priest on how to end the abuse, "He just said, this is your problem. Sweep it under the floor and get rid of it," according to details outlined in the Supreme Court decision.
The case has gone back and forth as to whether the girls confessional conversations with the priest should be allowed. The new ruling says that they should, but many Catholics are disagreeing.
"Confession is one of the most sacred rites in the Church. The Sacrament is based on a belief that the seal of the confessional is absolute and inviolable. A priest is never permitted to disclose the contents of any Confession," Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
"It's a very difficult issue, but I believe in the sanctity of confession. And at the same time I feel greatly for the little girl," said Mark Spansel, 58, of New Orleans.
Manolito Martinez, maintenance supervisor at St. Patrick's Church in downtown New Orleans, said, "I was raised as a Catholic - that priests are the mediators between us and God. So whatever you confide in the priest remains with the priest."