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Catholic Clergy Appeal to SCOTUS to Protect Seal of Confession

Contact: Father John Trigilio, PhD, Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, 717-957-9309

MARYSVILLE, Penn., Oct. 6, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- The sacrosanct seal of confession is inviolable according to Catholic theology and canon law. The absolute secrecy of the sacrament of Penance is an exercise of the First Amendment and any dilution of that confidentiality between confessor and penitent would violate every Catholic American's religious liberty and would unconstitutionally infringe and restrict the free exercise of religion.

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, a national association of more than 500 priests and deacons filed an amicus curiae brief to the US Supreme Court asking the high court to overrule and overturn the decision of a state supreme court (Louisiana) compelling a priest to violate his sacred vows and divulge what he heard confessed in the sacrament of Penance. Second only to the dogma of the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist (that the bread & wine become the Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity of Christ), the 2,000 year old practice of absolute secrecy in the confessional cannot be disclosed even by papal command. Priests must be willing to endure imprisonment and death rather than break the seal of confidentiality. This protects not only the penitent but the sacrament itself and all future confessions. More sacred than the doctor/patient and attorney/client confidentiality, the seal of confession is so important, any violation incurs an automatic excommunication only lifted by the Pope.

"It is the very heart of the priesthood next to celebrating Mass," said Fr. John Trigilio, President of the CCC. "No state, no government, no court, no civil or ecclesiastical authority has the power to undo the seal of confession. To do so would substantially harm the Catholic religion and the Catholic Church. We urge the court to uphold the First Amendment and the religious liberty the US Constitution protects for all citizens. Even during the Cold War, the Communists were unable to meddle with the sacrament of confession."

The CCC joins Catholic Action for Faith and Family, Catholic Answers, The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Catholic Answers, Catholics Come Home, Priests for Life, American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property and others along with the Diocese of Baton Rouge in petitioning the SCOTUS to prevent a gross miscarriage of justice and a grave violation of civil rights.