Priest Penitent Privilege Law and Legal Definition

The priest-penitent privilege protects communications between a person and a clergy member acting in a professional capacity as a spiritual advisor from disclosure. A clergyman uses the priest-penitent privilege to refuse to divulge confidential information received from a person during confession or similar exchanges.

Movements to repeal the priest-pentitent privilege have been mounted in some states. In the wake of the awful child abuse scandals, several legislatures throughout the country are considering laws which would require the clergy to inform authorities of any cases of suspected child abuse.