Hasn't He Ever Seen "I Confess?"

In the latest assualt on the seal of the confessional, a judge has ordered a priest of the Archdiocese of LA to submit to a deposition. Judge Haley Fromholz (tedious free registration required) ruled in part: The penitential privilege protects 'a communication made in confidence. . .It does not prohibit the disclosure of the fact that the communication occurred.

Sigh. Yesterday the LA Times published another round of reports on gross abuses at seminaries in CA, so one can imagine public sympathy is not going to lie with the confessor (he's being asked if he heard the confession of a deacon accused of child abuse). Which demonstrates once again that sin always has consequences far beyond what we imagine or intend. In any other climate, people would instantly understand that an attack on the confessional is an outrageous attack on religious liberty. Today I'm not so confident. Especially because of the bizarrely tenuous statement from the Archdiocesan lawyer. And in spite of the fact the deacon in question has confessed, so it's not as if the priest's testimony is "necessary" for prosecution. It isn't; it's just an opportunistic jab at the Church and religious liberty.
I almost posted something about the LA Times story yesterday, but then decided not to since there was nothing recent to report. In fact, I noted reading the main story that the report LAT was working from noted the worst behavior took place from the 1970s until 1984. Which only bolsters my contention that the 1985 round of seminary visitations really cleaned out the worst of this stuff. A fact John Paul the Great gets no credit for --even though arranging those visitations to clean up our seminaries bids fair to be the first significant thing he did as Pope.
UPDATE: Local Liberty weighs in.