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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Church Records

Volume 1 . Chapter 3 . § 3-08.11
Key point 3-08.11. The clergy-penitent privilege does not prevent clergy from disclosing confidential communications to the police. Rather, it prevents clergy from disclosing the content of privileged communications in court. Clergy who choose to inform the police about information shared with them in confidence are providing no more than a "tip." The police will need to confirm the information through their own investigation, since the minister will be prevented by the privilege from disclosing the information in court.

What if your church were served with a subpoena demanding that various financial records, membership records, and a pastor's counseling notes be turned over to an attorney? How would you react? Many church leaders consider such ...

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