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New MinisterWeekly Lessons

Continuing education for ministry leaders
New Minister
Weekly Lessons, created and written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA, give you a basic legal overview of essential topics based on staff or volunteer positions within a church.

This Week's LessonWeek of August 5

What is the Clergy-Penitent Privilege?

Introduction

This lesson covers the topic of the clergy privilege. The Executive Summary provides a concise review of the key points. Before we get started, test your knowledge by completing the following quiz.

Quiz

Executive Summary

Certain communications that are made to ministers, in confidence, are "privileged." This means that the minister, or counselee, cannot be forced to disclose the content of the communications in a court of law. Ministers often are asked to testify in court in criminal trials regarding conversations they had with a criminal defendant, or in divorce cases regarding conversations they had with one of the spouses, and so new ministers should be familiar with the basic requirements of the "clergy-penitent" privilege. This lesson reviews what you need to know.

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