Rule 505: Communications to Members of the Clergy

(a) Definitions. As used in this rule:

(1) A “member of the clergy” is a minister, priest, rabbi, accredited Christian Science Practitioner, or other similar functionary of a religious organization or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting with such individual.

(2) A communication is “confidential” if made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.

(b) General Rule of Privilege. A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a member of the clergy in the member’s professional character as spiritual adviser.

(c) Who May Claim the Privilege. The privilege may be claimed by the person, by the person’s guardian or conservator, or by the personal representative of the person if the person is deceased.  The member of the clergy to whom the communication was made is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege but only on behalf of the communicant.