EDITED: Confession and Cell phone

I love to go to confession and try to go every week or every 2 weeks. I always leave my phone in my car before going into any church. Its always been a practice of mine since I personally find it disturbing when someone’s phone is making a noise such as a incoming text message or a phone call while inside a church building. So, yesterday I went to confession and for the first time, forgot to leave my cell phone in the car. I was making my confession and the phone rang. Was I ever embarrassed! It was on silent, but you could hear the noise the vibration makes and then it chimed when the person left a voice mail. Well, not only was I embarrassed, but it made me so upset that I didnt leave it in the car, that I couldnt focus on what Father had to say for counsel. I was to distracted over this. I did hear him give me absolution and I know what the penance was, but I missed out on the counsel. Another reason to add to my list of things I hate about cell phones lol. Anyhow, have any of you had “bad experiences” at confession where you totally missed out on the Fullness of the sacrament?? I felt so bad. Father never said a word about the phone, but it bothers me alot.

When you received absolution, you received the fulness of the sacrament. I have had such a bad experience when I didn’t receive the fullness of the sacrament. I won’t go into detail, as it creates angry feelings, but I spend my Fridays doing penance for the priest’s conversion.

I leave my cell phone in the car, or turn it off. Wouldn’t you know it, like you, one time I forgot, right in the middle of the counsel, it rings. Unfortunately, I didn’t have it on vibrate. I was so embarrassed! :stuck_out_tongue:

After Father had given me absolution, my penance, I apologized. He accepted my apology, told me not to fret about it, at least, I didn’t answer it. :eek:

Cell phones have this wonderful feature called “airplane mode” which leaves your phone on so you don’t miss calls, text, etc, but it blocks the signal to prevent receiving them until you take your phone off airplane mode. The result? No fear of receiving calls or texts.

BTW: One should not bring their cell phone into the confessional, as it is possible to compromise the integrity of the seal of confession.


Leave the phone at home or locked in the trunk of the car–best advice.
Turn off the phone before walking into the chapel–better advice.
Airplane mode–good advice.

If you have a smart phone with apps like Laudate to help you prepare for confession, I would turn off the phone completely before my turn in the confessional.


I can give you a cell phone story but all my confessions been okay…

I was visiting a monestary for the very first time this year though been going to church 25 years. I stayed over night an in frankness I wasn’t having a good time of it because it not how I view God without going into too much detail and although I wasn’t in silence there was a retreat on who were and I knew no one to have a what seemed like an innocent chat to bring me round a little because I didnt’ know anyone at all… conequently I 'ran-away back home and not been back at though I loved the food.

But my cell phone story is that, I used it for my clock alarm not having taken one. I changed the time to be up in time for morning prayer but hadn’t realised I needed to cancel the permament one. My phone was off. About half way through morning prayer my alarm went off…:blush: Person at my side gave me such a glare not knowing my distressed enough state anyway on top of that. I did manage to switch it off without fumbling etc and sat through the rest of morning prayer all :blush: no one said a word and by break time I was heading off home on the train because had enough but yeh mobile phones even when they are off… I was upset but more with the whole thing so you in good company about being upset with phones and no one said anything. I didn’t know any of the Monks, even my host monk to have gone up and said whatever.

Never again will I go to monestaries or convents or retreats or such like and I know my current priest won’t make me even if the servers go or something I know I will be ‘let-off’ if that ever happend and escaped the quiet day at church and even got permission to read through communion and that is not quiet but it too quiet for me:thumbsup:

Frankly, I do not see why you are so upset about this. There is nothing to be embarrassed or upset about, and I really do see why you got so anxious about it that you could not concentrate.

If this happens to me - Confession, or anywhere else - I say, “Oh, I’m sorry. Let me turn this off.” I turn it off, and move on. This is a very common occurrence nowadays.

too common in my own opinion and hence why I am embarrassed when I do get caught out because my phone is permanently on silent but just very rarely not on silent. That time it was actually off, not knowing how the alarm worked:p

There is no just cause for phones to be going every two minutes when someone else really is trying to atune into God and need their silence. Silence doesn’t do it for me but I respect that it does for others and I see no reason why phones need to go off xyz because folk are too whatever to turn it off or on silent.

It too easy to say am sorry and move on and next time say am sorry and move on. If we really are sorry about how our phones could be disturbing others then we would make sure because like I say, I don’t need the silence but others do and who knows what is on their hearts and that could be what is the final straw in their book and same people all the time muttering about turning it off… Just turn it off discretly if you really need it on no need to let the whole room know. It really annoys me that when there are meetings too many people are running out to answer their phone. Status symbols or something. You never see the priest stopping Mass to answer his phone or turning it off with a sorry… About time we all took lessons from our priests and not answer our phone or even have to turn it off when we are in middle of something.

I was mortified and it will be never again for me but too many people are the same people over and over again and like I say, we never see the Priest doing so… Yet they are always ready to listen to us…

Let that being bothered be part of your penance.

I think it is time that we accept that carrying a cell phone has become normal, just as carrying identification, keys, and assorted other pocket and purse items is normal.

As such, embarrassing moments WILL occur at inopportune times. It’s a big hit to our pride when we are embarrassed, especially if we get the evil eye from others when it happens.

If one is that disturbed by a phone on vibrate or a message notification then it might be wise to mention it during the next confession because it seems to me that borders on scrupulosity.

I would like to think that priests make a special point of turning their phones off or leaving them elsewhere when they are hearing confessions (much more serious if a priests phone goes live during confession than if the penitent’s phone goes live) but I imagine priests forget too. They certainly have been known to forget to turn them off or to silent during Mass.

I always silence my phone before entering a church for any reason so it doesn’t go off when I don’t want it to. But I remember one time in confession when the priest asked me to recite an act of contrition, I got started but thought I had messed up, but the priest said that’s okay, finish the one you’ve chosen as it was not the one typically done then gave me a penance and advice, then absolved me. At least one of my missals has several options for the act of contrition, and same for my cell phone app which is helpful when I go to one place for the EF where the Confessional goes pitch dark once you shut the door and kneel, and the only light source is when the screen is opened for your turn & is minimal.

this is more funny that bad but i think you will enjoy it.

At my first Steubenville conference, i was in confession and somehow the topic of robotics came up. Well, turns out that that particular priest used to be a robot coach and we got into full discussion about it before you knew it, we forgot we were in confession. So i get up and leave, and next think i know, the priest is running after me in the hallway and said he forgot to absolve me and give me penance, so he did it right then and there

Well…I use the app “Confession” in my confessions. I did ask the priest beforehand though… I always have it on silent though…especially since I usually go after Mass.


That’s pretty funny, that you could share that interest with the priest so freely that you forgot you were in confession!!


It is much worse when one brings ones fax machine …

Yes there is a reason to be upset about this. While inside a church, people need to have proper respect for where they are at. And when a cell phone goes off inside a church, it just appears to be disrepectful. And its also a major distraction for many. Cell phones have no place inside a church. Before cell phones came out, life was so much easier and people didnt have a phone glued to their body 24/7. Its just gotten way out of control

No, its not scrupulosity. Its called showing proper respect when inside a church.

I understand that, but you also said you usually leave your phone in the car and in this one instance you forgot. That means that it was an accident and not a deliberate act of disrecspect. I think you are being too severe on yourself.

Exactly…we don’t all walk in perfection…which is the whole point of reconciliation…

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