Crown and Crozier

U.S. States Take Aim at the Seal of Confession ~ Eric Kniffin

July 01, 2023 Season 3 Episode 17
Crown and Crozier
U.S. States Take Aim at the Seal of Confession ~ Eric Kniffin
Show Notes
Does protecting kids mean we have to turn priests into government informants?

It might sound like a far-fetched question. But during their recent legislative sessions, a few U.S. state legislatures found themselves wrestling with this exact question.

Under the guise of seeking to strengthen measures to safeguard children, several legislative proposals would have required priests to violate the seal of confession if information regarding incidents of abuse came to their attention in the confessional.

Joining us to discuss the profound implications of these bills is someone who had a front-row seat during the debates in the state legislatures which were recently examining this issue.

Eric Kniffin is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and has been an attorney focused on religious liberty for almost 20 years. He worked in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the George W. Bush Administration. In private practice, Eric has defended hundreds of religious employers from federal mandates regarding contraception, abortifacients and gender transition.

Resources & References

@ekniffin (Twitter)

Eric Kniffin (biography)

Eric Kniffin, “Attacks on the Seal of the Confessional”, First Things (March 30, 2023)

Ethics and Public Policy Center, “EPPC Scholar Urges Washington State Not to Pressure Clergy to Violate Seal of the Confessional” (March 21, 2023)

Jason Dearen and Michael Rezendes, “Churches defend clergy loophole in child sex abuse reporting”, Associated Press (September 28, 2022)

Please note that this podcast has been edited for length and clarity.