Priest Confidentiality Law In Texas - Rule 505(B)

Rule 505(b) affords a privilege for confidential communications made by a person to a member of the clergy "in the member's professional character as a spiritual advisor." TEX. R. EVID. 505(b). Under rule 505, 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." TEX. R. EVID. 505(a). Although the privilege afforded by rule 505 is broader than that recognized in some jurisdictions, see Easley v. State, 837 S.W.2d 854, 856 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no pet.) (per curiam) (noting that rule is broader because communication need not be penitential to qualify for protection), the protection afforded by the rule is not unlimited. Under the express language of the rule, the privilege only extends to communications addressed to a clergyman in his professional capacity as a spiritual advisor, not to every private communication made to a clergy member. See id.