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Janet and I will be locked away in the edit bay at Skyline Productions in Phoenix Arizona for the next two weeks. Today we laid in all of the voiceovers and tomorrow we begin working on the behind-the-scenes and the B roll footage. Then art, maps, music…

We’re very excited about this documentary and are having a blast putting it together – like a big jig-saw puzzle, even though it is blistering hot outside. We are not used to these kind of temperatures :-)

Please pray for us as we work on finishing “Abraham, Father of Faith and Works.”

If you get a chance, contact Ignatius Press and let them know you’re pleased that they are financing this current project :-)

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On Catholic Answers Live Tonight (Monday)

by Steve Ray on July 14, 2014

Join me at 6:00 PM EST for Open Forum for Non-Catholics.

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by Diocese of Baton Rouge

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Description:
The Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has issued this official statement vigorously denouncing a ruling by the state’s highest court that would compel a priest to violate the seal of confession or face possible imprisonment.
Publisher & Date:
Diocese of Baton Rouge, July 7, 2014

Official Statement of the Diocese of Baton Rouge With Respect To Supreme Court of Louisiana, Docket No. 2013-C-2879 Court of Appeals – First Circuit, Docket No. 2013-CW-0316

By matter of policy, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge does not normally comment on pending legal cases, especially when the plaintiff files the case under seal. The Church respects the request for sealing of the record and will not make statements. However, in the instant case, even though the district court record is under seal, the opinion issued by the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Baton Rouge and the Writ opinion by the Supreme Court of Louisiana are not under seal.

Since those two opinions are public record and the media has contacted the Church for comment, we provide this statement of the position of the Catholic Church and Fr. Jeff Bayhi.

The issue as it relates to the “Church defendants” (Fr. Bayhi and the Diocese of Baton Rouge) attacks the seal of confession and the attempt by the plaintiffs to have the court compel testimony from the priest, Fr. Bayhi, as to whether or not there were confessions and, if so, what the contents of any such confessions were.

We contend that two conflicting statutes of the State of Louisiana are involved regarding mandatory reporting of knowledge concerning alleged sexual abuse or neglect of minors.

The case in question does not allege any such charge against any clergy, religious or paid staff member of the diocese. The Church has great compassion for those who have indicated an experience of such egregious misconduct.

The issue before the District Court, the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the Louisiana Supreme Court assaults the heart of a fundamental doctrine of the Catholic faith as relating to the absolute seal of sacred communications (Confession/Sacrament of Reconciliation).

The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that the seal of confession preempted the Civil Court from ordering the priest to testify as to whether or not there was a confession and, if so, what the contents of the confession revealed. The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit dismissed the case against both Fr. Bayhi and the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

A Writ of Certiorari was filed by the plaintiffs to the Supreme Court of Louisiana. The Supreme Court of Louisiana granted the Writ, reversed and vacated the First Circuit Court of Appeals judgment, in its entirety, reinstated the judgment of the trial court, and remanded for further proceedings in the District Court to hold a hearing concerning whether or not there was a “confession.” We contend that such a procedure is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the U. S. Constitution. The Supreme Court of Louisiana cannot order the District Court to do that which no civil court possibly can—determine what constitutes the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Catholic Church. Indeed, both state and federal jurisprudence make clear that there is no jurisdiction to adjudicate claims that turn upon such purely religious questions.

A foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for thousands of years mandates that the seal of confession is absolute and inviolable. Pursuant to his oath to the Church, a priest is compelled never to break that seal. Neither is a priest allowed to admit that someone went to confession to him. If necessary, the priest would have to suffer a finding of contempt in a civil court and suffer imprisonment rather than violate his sacred duty and violate the seal of confession and his duty to the penitent.

This is not a gray area in the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. A priest/confessor who violates the seal of confession incurs an automatic excommunication reserved for forgiveness to the Apostolic See in Vatican City, Italy.

In this case, the priest acted appropriately and would not testify about the alleged confessions. Church law does not allow either the plaintiff (penitent) or anyone else to waive the seal of confession.

This matter cuts to the core of the Catholic faith, and for a civil court to inquire as to whether or not a factual situation establishes the Sacrament of Confession is a clear and unfettered violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States. This matter is of serious consequence to all religions, not just the Catholic faith. The statutes involved in this matter address “sacred communications” which are confidential and are exempt from mandatory reporting. In other words, Protestant ministers, Jewish Rabbis, clergy of the Muslim religion, etc. all counsel and receive sacred communication of a confidential nature which are covered by these statutes.

The position of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Fr. Bayhi is that the Supreme Court of Louisiana has run afoul of the constitutional rights of both the Church and the priest, more particularly, has violated the Establishment Clause and the separation of Church and State under the first amendment. For a civil court to impinge upon the freedom of religion is a clear violation and the matter will be taken to the highest court in the land by the Church in order to protect its free exercise of religion.

© Diocese of Baton Rouge

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Three Israeli Teenagers Found in Shallow Grave North of Hebron in the Palestinian West Bank

June 30, 2014

This is very sad news and deplorable. These three teenage boys were hitchhiking and called the police with a distress call that they had been kidnapped. They had not been heard from for several weeks and have just now been found in a shallow grave north of Hebron in the Palestinian West Bank. This is [...]

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My Show “Loving Your Wife” on Relevant Radio got a LOT of Response

June 5, 2014

If you’d like to listen, click HERE.

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Pray for Us as We Continue Filming Abraham DVD – now in Israel and Turkey

June 1, 2014

We finished shooting our footage in Iraq in January. I’ve now finished the script and we are now going for three weeks to Israel, Palestine and then to Turkey to finish filming our Footprints of God Abraham DVD. Our crew of four will join us on Wednesday. We have been granted permission to film inside [...]

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On Catholic Answers Live Tonight

May 19, 2014

Topic: Q & A for Non-Catholics. You can listen online HERE. I will post the questions I answered tomorrow along with MP3 and download info.

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Mothers are Closest to God the Creator

May 11, 2014

The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral — a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body . . . The angels have not been blessed [...]

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Is Peter the First Pope? Join us in the Holy Land to See the Answer is YES

May 10, 2014

Today we started out at the Mountain of Beatitudes where we had a wonderful Mass looking out of the sea of Galilee. Fr. Keith in persona Christi proclaimed the gospel during our Mass where Jesus preached. We drove up to Caesarea Philippi where Jesus said to Peter, “You Are Peter and on This Rock I’ll Build [...]

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Istaeli Security Already Preparing for the Pope at our Notre Dame Hotel in Jerusalem

May 7, 2014

The Pope owns the hotel where we always stay with our groups. It is the Catholic Center in Jerusalem. Janet and I have stayed at the Notre Dame Ctr. over 130 times. Today when we arrived back from dinner at our favorite Christian restaurant in the Old City we found six Israeli security vehicles in [...]

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Finding the unknown site where Abraham met the Trinity

May 2, 2014

Remember in Genesis 18 when the three angels came to visit Abraham? We are told in the first verse that it was the Lord that came to visit him. Christian tradition has seen these three messengers as being the Trinity coming down to visit Abraham and to judge Sodom and Gomorrah. That took place 4000 [...]

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Surprise in the Restroom

May 1, 2014

Little surprise while using the restroom in Galilee. He jumped and I jumped :-)

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A Powerful Story of Conversion and the Rosary

April 30, 2014

A lady named Leah shared this story: Throughout my abusive childhood, my mother dragged my siblings and I through every possible religion, Church, alternative spiritual groups/cults and was so thoroughly confused by my teenage years, I firmly believed in “nothing”. When I was around 18 and taking my usual walk after dinner one evening, I [...]

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A Long Month Ahead; keep us in Your Prayers

April 20, 2014

Janet and I are at the airport in Detroit heading out to Rome to lead a group of 63 people in a double-decker bus on a Rome-Assisi pilgrimage including the canonization of John Paul II and John the 23rd. Rome will be crowded but we’re looking forward to sharing this experience with our pilgrims. After [...]

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Obama Meets the Pope: the Spin Begins

March 27, 2014

By Phil Lawyer | March 27, 2014 2:07 Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Pope Francis, President Obama said that Church concerns about religious freedom and individual conscience were “not really a topic of conversation” during the exchange. That’s funny. The Vatican summary of the discussion mentioned “questions of particular relevance for the Church, [...]

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Poll Shows Pope Francis Very Popular With American Catholics

March 7, 2014

85% Express Favorable View of Him After 1 Year on Throne of St. Peter By Kathleen Naab WASHINGTON, D.C., March 06, 2014 (Zenit.org) – The Pew Research Center released today results on surveys about Pope Francis. Among the findings, the survey shows that a large majority of American Catholics feel favorably about the Pope and [...]

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