[quote="reagent6, post:1, topic:274908"]
Hello brothers and sisters
I was thinking about the confidentiality of confession and how wonderful it is that this right is protected by civil law here in the North America and Europe. God forbid that the federal government ever decides to make a rule (in the nature of the recent HHS ruling ) that takes this right away from us!
You are talking apples and oranges. Rules of court are rules of court. The administration can't take away priest-penitent confidentiality by regulation. Only courts (or the Congress by passing a law) can limit the privilege. Privilege is a rule of evidence. In any event, state courts are governed by their own rules of evidence and the Federal courts are governed by their own. Basically, you have 51 different court systems in the United States--50 states and the Federal system.
At best, this is something that comes up once every five in each of the 51 jurisdictions.
The Texas Rules of Evidence are pretty standard for state evidentiary rules:
**RULE 505. COMMUNICATIONS TO MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY
(a) Definitions.** As used in this rule:
(1) A "member of the clergy" is a minister, priest, rabbi, accredited Christian Science Practitioner, or other similar functionary of a religious organization or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting with such individual.
(2) A communication is "confidential" if made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.
(b) General Rule of Privilege. A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a member of the clergy in the member's professional character as spiritual adviser.
(c) **Who May Claim the Privilege. **The privilege may be claimed by the person, by the person's guardian or conservator, or by the personal representative of the person if the person is deceased. The member of the clergy to whom the communication was made is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege but only on behalf of the communicant.
I've practiced law for 17 years. This hasn't been an issue in either the Texas court system or in the Fifth U.S. Circuit as long as I have been an attorney.