I guess the following article describes the current trend. As courts get more conservative, we lose more of our rights. And certain communications, once thought to be privileged, are not immune to this trend either.
So I guess my question is two-part: Is the priest-penitent privilege protect by the Constitution? And secondly, should it be?
Because I have to tell you all, growing up Roman Catholic, I was taught there was nothing more sacred. Priests would sooner face torture or death, than reveal what was said in the confessional. And many times, apparently they did.
I already know what some of you will say. Some people will then re-offend. But that is by no means certain. And it is not even relevant. Privilege communication is privilege communication. And it is absolute for a reason. We assume more good will come from it than not, even if in the short run it might lead to some harm. We could, for example, probably get people to confess more if we used torture. But we don’t, because we agree there are certain lines never to be crossed.
Sorry, if those last two paragraphs sound like I am on my soap box. I really am not. I know there are many opinions on this one, and I would love to hear all of yours.
BTW, another interesting possible development in this story. With the recent death of SCOTUS justice Antonin Scalia, we no longer have a Catholic majority on the high court. Thomas is a Catholic. So are George W. Bush’s two appointments. One of Obama’s appointments, Sotomayor is RC. But they are no longer a 5-4 majority. How will this affect the outcome of this right?
Thank you to all who reply, and keep it civil too:)