A state appeals court in California is calling Cardinal Mahony’s bluff. It has rejected his claim that clergy personnel files are covered under the priest-penitent privilege.
The claim is particularly far-fetched as legal theory because other dioceses, also institutions of the Catholic Church subject to the same doctrines and canon law that LA is subject to, have not asserted the same privilege, thus exploding Mahony’s argument that such communications are bound by universal Catholic principles.
The cardinal even sought to assert that three-way communications including the bishop, priest, and other priests should be protected.
[Mahony lawyer Donald] Woods said he hoped a higher court would take a different view of the priest-penitent privilege and allow three-way communications between the bishop, his vicar and an accused priest to fall within it. “It’s like having two priests in the confessional instead of one,” he said.
As Diogenes says, “Must get crowded, surely?”