National Catholic Reporter

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Seal of the Confessional and the Catholic Church

Court may compel priest to break confessional seal in abuse case

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Louisiana's Supreme Court has ruled that a priest may be compelled to testify as to what he heard in the confessional in 2008 concerning an abuse case.

The priest, Fr. Jeff Bayhi, faces automatic excommunication if he breaks the seal of the confessional. But he also could face jailing if found to be in contempt of the court should he refuse to testify.

In the case, a girl who was 14 in 2008 said she told her parish priest -- Bayhi, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Zachary -- in the confessional that she was abused by a now-dead lay member of the parish.

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