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 Courts do not take lightly their responsibility to develop common law evidentiary privileges 'in the light of reason and experience.' Fed. R. Evid. 501; see Gillock, 445 U.S. at 367-68. In developing the federal common law of privileges concerning communications to the clergy, courts must attempt to balance the need for full disclosure of all probative evidence against the countervailing requirement of confidentiality that furthers the objectives underlying the privilege claimed. See In re Grand Jury Impaneled January 21, 1975, 541 F.2d 373, 382 (3d Cir. 1976). Although Rule 501 grants the federal courts power to create new privileges or to develop existing privileges as the need arises, this authority is narrow in scope and should be exercised only after careful consideration in the face of a strong showing of need for the privilege. 

Testimonial privileges contravene the well-established principle that ''the public . . . has a right to every man's evidence'' and, therefore, 'must be strictly construed and 'accepted only to the very limited extent that permitting a refusal to testify or excluding relevant evidence has a public good transcending the normally predominant principle of utilizing all rational means for ascertaining the truth.'' ...

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