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Pastor, Church & Law

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


Volume 1 . Chapter 3 . § 3-08.9
Key point 3-08.09. Clergy can be liable for disclosing communications shared with them in confidence to others without the permission of the counselee.

The concepts of privilege and confidentiality are closely related. Generally, "confidentiality" refers to a duty not to disclose to anyone the substance of communications shared in confidence. While the impropriety of disclosing confidential information is universally acknowledged, few clergy have been found legally accountable for unauthorized disclosures. This is because, until recently, the duty of clergy to preserve confidences was considered to be moral rather than legal in nature. However, in recent years some clergy have been sued for divulging confidences.

Be sure to distinguish between ...

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