This case may involve a Mormon and his local “bishop”, but it has implications for Catholics as well. Florida State Attorney officials are investigating whether a Mormon clergyman broke the law by failing to report that a member of his congregation confessed to him that he committed sex crimes weeks before he was arrested.
Last year, the state enacted a new law requiring everyone, including clergy, to report cases of child sexual abuse.
The State Attorney’s office said child abuse must be reported even if that breaks confidentiality.
“These privileges, including the privileges between a clergy and a church member, are not valid in the case of child abuse,” Shauan Wright, from the State Attorney’s Office, told Channel 4’s Jennifer Waugh.
While the Mormon leadership in Utah is okay with that, Catholics are not.
“You are never, ever allowed to reveal anything that is said to you in confession, and if you do follow that (law), you are excommunicated from the Catholic church,” said Father Ralph Besendorfer, from the Catholic Diocese.
Keep an eye on Florida, because I suspect that before long a priest is going to become a test case. I just hope our First Amendment freedom of religion rights are upheld by the courts.