Computer system could help deaf Catholics make confessions

Increasing access for the deaf and hearing impaired is a very good thing. I wonder if it will be approved, given past opposition to confession via telephone or online chat? I think the hardwired connection between two computers, located next to one another and with no possibility of remote access, might make the system acceptable.

*A Phoenix, Ariz., priest has invented a computer system intended to help Catholics who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired to make their confessions.

Father Romuald P. Zantua, the system’s inventor, told CBCP News that his invention will help increase the practice of confessions, especially for deaf people who have limited access to priests who know sign language.*

*The system runs special software that uses two dedicated, secured computers. All network connectivity options are disabled except for an Ethernet connection, which connects the devices with a network cable.

The penitent and the priest each have their own computer. They communicate through typed messages on a chat program. The messages are erased at the end of each confession.*

A deaf person can confess in writing or typing in the presence of the priest. All that is required for a valid confession is that the person make known his sins and that the priest be physically present to absolve his sins. :slight_smile:

I think it would be acceptable but would have a limited use. I can’t see most parishes having the money or the space for such a set up. But for parishes with a large deaf population or for ministries that serve schools or colleges for the deaf, it could be very advantageous.

Our parish already uses an Ubi-Duo, which is basically a device with two typewriters (one on the priest’s side of the Confessional and one on the penitent’s), and we only have a handful of deaf parishioners. It’s not a big investment, especially if you want to bring more deaf people into the Church.

Our pastor also knows sign language (the only priest in our city who does), and our Sunday High Masses are interpreted as well. Many in the deaf community, even those who grew up Catholic, left the Catholic Church for Protestant churches because of the lack of Catholic deaf outreach programs. I hope and pray this changes soon.

Here is our parish’s website regarding our deaf outreach:!deaf-accomodations/cq4l

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