In most states, confidential communications between clergy and parishioner are privileged, meaning they can remain protected from disclosure even if litigation about them arises, but there are limits to the privilege.

In most states, and under the common law, communications with spiritual leaders are protected under a privilege called clergy-communicant, clergy-congregant, clergy communications or something similar. But when does it apply? Ministers must think through this before they start listening to confessions and other important communications.