Pastor, Church & Law
Appendix 3: Clergy-Penitent Privilege
Note: The relevant portion of each state's statute or rule of evidence describing the clergy-penitent privilege is set forth below in alphabetical order. All statutes and rules are subject to change, and accordingly this appendix should not be relied upon. To determine the current text of any statute, you should visit a library containing your state statutes, or consult with an attorney.
Alabama Rules of Evidence, Rule 505. Communications to clergymen
- Definitions. As used in this rule:
(1) A "clergyman" is any duly ordained, licensed or commissioned minister, pastor, priest, rabbi or practitioner of any bona fide established church or religious organization; the term "clergyman" includes, and is limited to, any person who regularly, as a vocation, devotes a substantial portion of his or her time and abilities to the service of his or her church or religious organization.
(2) A communication is "confidential" if it is made privately and is not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.
Copyright © 2008 by Christianity Today. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."
Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.