PODCAST: “Minefields” for the Chaplain, Part 1 (Ordained Chaplains: Work of the Chaplain #77 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to the Ordained Chaplains podcast. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society University, and this is “The Work of the Chaplain” Lesson 77. The simple purpose of this podcast is to help those who are interested in serving others through chaplaincy, pastoring, coaching, and counseling to learn the basics of this profession.

Our Work of the Chaplain Passage for this episode is Proverbs 25:9-10 which says, “…Discover not a secret to another: Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.”

Our Work of the Chaplain quote for this episode is from Billy Graham. He said, “Confidentiality is the essence of being trusted.”

In this podcast, we are going through the fine book: “The Work of the Chaplain” by Naomi K. Paget and Janet R. McCormack.

Our topic today is: Chapter 11 – “Minefields” for the Chaplain (Part 1)

— Privileged Communication, Confidentiality, & Privacy

Trust is a critical issue in the chaplain/client relationship. Spiritual and emotional healing can only take place where trust and transparency are present. When people are in distress, they are vulnerable and say things that they would ordinarily keep to themselves. Chaplains are often the guardians of very private or sacred information.

The distinctions of privileged communication, confidentiality, and privacy are very important. While these concepts refer to the relationship between the chaplain and the client and are established for the benefit of the client, the concepts have their basis established from different sources. Privileged communication is a right established by law, confidentiality is an ethical concept applied by the chaplain, and privacy is a moral concept invoked by the client. These concepts are often discussed under the overarching umbrella of confidential communication.

Privileged Communication

Privileged communication is a legal term describing the prohibition of a client’s confidence from being disclosed in a court of law without his or her consent. The right of privileged communication belongs to the client and is meant for the client’s protection. While often perceived as being absolute, privileged communication does have its exemptions, even for the chaplain or clergy person. Forty-nine states have some form of privileged communications for clergy but also mandate reporting of child abuse. (Washington does not include clergy as mandated reporters.) The description of this privilege varies, and some states have specific exemptions. Many states specifically grant clergy-penitent privilege in pastoral communications but deny the privilege in cases of child abuse or neglect. Some states have not addressed the issue of clergy-penitent privilege within their reporting laws but include clergy in a broad category of professional “other persons” who work with children. Because the laws vary from state to state, it is the responsibility of each chaplain to know the exceptions for his or her particular chaplain ministry setting.

Since the client’s right of privileged communication is not inviolate, the same governing body that grants the privilege may revoke the privilege. Therefore, it is not a right that chaplains or clients should assume in all cases. These laws frequently change, requiring chaplains to remain vigilant regarding privilege changes. Chaplains should clarify the laws of the state in which they provide ministry and should engage legal counsel when uncertain about disclosure of information. Clergy-penitent privilege does not excuse a chaplain from being subpoenaed or appearing in court, but it does protect the chaplain from being forced to disclose privileged information during a deposition or court appearance. Usually, the appropriate attorney will make the objection for the chaplain.




Now, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God bless.