Seal of Confession Goes on Trial [Zenit]

Church and State Face Off in Court

By Annamarie Adkins

SALEM, Oregon, AUG. 26, 2009 ( When Father Timothy Mockaitis heard inmate Conan Wayne Hale’s sacramental confession on April 22, 1996, he had no idea it was being recorded.

He also didn’t know that the event would spur an unprecedented legal case that attempted to demonstrate that a violation of the seal of the confessional was an infringement on the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Father Mockaitis details these pivotal events in his new book, “The Seal: A Priest’s Story.” The pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church shared with ZENIT how this case involved not only canon law versus civil law, but also a threat to the long term viability of our Constitutional freedoms.


With Oregon being one of the most secular progressive states, I am not surprised by their actions. I do applaud the higher courts for upholding the priest-penitent privilege. Yet the state of Oregon still has not destroyed the recording. Why and where are they heading? Past actions of this state would give us a good indication.

The prosecution has agreed not to use the tape-its the defense that wats to have the option of using it.

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