Mass Via TV, Confession Via Phone


#1

Okay.

I know that watching mass on TV does not fulfill one’s Sunday obligation, and I understand that awhile ago the Vatican shut down an 800-number set up by the Diocese of Philadephia that people could use to call a priest for confession, counseling, etc.

My question is: What is the technical reason why watching mass on TV and going to confession by telephone are not valid receptions of the sacraments?

Form? Matter? Intent? What?

Thanks.


#2

I don’t know, that is a great question! If I had to guess I would assume it is the matter but again I have no clue.


#3

Sacraments are physical and corporeal.

One must be physically present to receive absolution. One must be physically present to assist at the Mass.

Jesus touched the leper, the blind, the sick. Jesus did not send a letter, the equivalent of his time.


#4

I don’t know for certain, but I believe it has to do with participation and the human will. If you are physically capable to go to Mass, you should go. If you are incapable of physically going, even if you have the will to go, your obligation is lifted because you cannot physically attend, and watching Mass on TV is optional. Compare this to being physically able to attend Mass, but you would rather sit at home by yourself and watch Mass on TV instead. Where is the participation? Where is the communion? Where is the Eucharist? It’s not with the person at home, it’s in the physical church.

And in regard to the confession via phone, I would venture a guess that it is something similar. If you are not willing to see a priest in person for the loving gift of the Sacrament of Confession, then how repentant are you really? I feel the effort it takes to make it to a church or call a priest to come to your home to have Confession in person can be a good sign of true repentance. There may be other logistical issues, but I feel that all Sacraments are meant to be conveyed by the priest in person.


#5

“[T]he sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and **make present the graces **proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.” (CCC 1131)

I would suspect that this means that the sacraments make present the graces only in the presence of the minister of the sacrament, which means that if the one receiving the sacrament is not there, they cannot actually receive the graces.

If however you are watching a Mass live, you receive the benefit of blessings the priest gives during or after Mass. :slight_smile:


#6

Confession over the phone is nonsense.


#7

=Randy Carson;11142595]Okay.

I know that watching mass on TV does not fulfill one’s Sunday obligation, and I understand that awhile ago the Vatican shut down an 800-number set up by the Diocese of Philadephia that people could use to call a priest for confession, counseling, etc.

My question is: What is the technical reason why watching mass on TV and going to confession by telephone are not valid receptions of the sacraments?

Form? Matter? Intent? What?

Thanks.

Counciling OK!

Confession NO!
Person to priest remains the world wide NORM.

By phone would be BOTHinvalid and illicit.

When Christ Instituted the Sacrament [John 20:19-23] an important part of the plan was to make us uncomfortable; and thereby less likely to sin again in that same manner.

God Bless you,
patrick PJM


#8

The sacraments to be valid have to have the correct form and intention. For example, we cannot change the form of Confirmation from anointing with oil to being stroked with a feather as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The experience of forgiveness that occurs between the priest and the penitent in the Sacrament of Reconciliation is personal, even intimate. Putting an electronic device between them changes the form of the sacrament and would make it invalid. :frowning:


#9

This discussion does put me in mind of the French novel Clochemerle by Gabriel Chevalier. The priests from neighbouring parishes had met for lunch and were hearing each other’s confessions over a glass of wine. One asked “What shall we do when we are too old to visit each other for confession?” The other replied “We’ll send each other telegrams.” Much later in the story, the now elderly priest of Clochmerle receives a telegram that reads “Usual plus 2”


#10

The Mass broadcast every Sunday was previously referred to by our diocese as “the Mass for shut-ins.” That description is a good place to start in answering the OP’s question on Mass.
By definition, “shut-ins” (people who, because of poor health, cannot leave home) are relieved of their duty to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Therefore, a televised “Mass for shut-ins” is not another way of fulfilling their duty.
The current Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of our obligation to “attend Mass.” Watching a Mass on TV or listening to it on the radio is not the same as attendance. The intent of Sunday Mass is to worship in a community. Worship is not exclusively a private matter; indeed, for Christians, communal worship is the norm.
Passive watching of a televised Mass, or even active participation (reciting the responses, for instance), is not the same as communal worship, because we aren’t gathered with our fellow Christians. We aren’t taking part in the Mass as a community.
If you are capable of fulfilling your Sunday Duty, watching a televised Mass or listening to one on the radio does not fulfill your obligation. If you are incapable of fulfilling your Sunday Duty, then you are dispensed from your Sunday Duty. So broadcast Masses never “count,” in the sense of fulfilling our Sunday Duty. Yet dioceses offer them because they provide some solace to those who cannot attend Mass. Hearing the readings, even making the responses—these things can help shut-ins and others who are legitimately dispensed from their Sunday Duty to gain some spiritual benefits. In that sense.


#11

Regarding confession, this:

You can confess by long-distance technology, but you cannot receive absolution via long-distance technology. Similarly, you can confess to anyone you desire, but only priests with faculties can forgive your sins through sacramental absolution.

There are practical reasons: certainty about the person of the confessor, the penitent, issues of faculties across even continents, security of not being overheard, etc. There are theological reasons: the penitent must accuse himself of sins in the presence of the minister of the Church acting in the person of Christ who is judge, there is the personal nature of the encounter with the Lord who is Mercy itself, etc.
No confession by long-distance. It must be a real, and personal meeting of penitent and confessor.

wdtprs.com/blog/2010/11/quaeritur-confession-by-phone-long-distance/


#12

Let’s say that I call my local parish priest and say, “Fr. David, it’s Randy…yes, I know I had an appointment at 10:00am…that’s why I’m calling. I have a very bad cold, and I don’t want you to catch it. However, I have a few minutes now, if you are still available.”

I am certain who the priest is; he is certain who I am. He has faculties in his diocese, and we’re not concerned about security.

There are theological reasons: the penitent must accuse himself of sins in the presence of the minister of the Church acting in the person of Christ who is judge,

Okay. But why in the physical presence? Skype didn’t exist in Jesus’ day.

here is the personal nature of the encounter with the Lord who is Mercy itself, etc.

Jesus healed the Centurion’s servant without actually going to the Centurion’s house, didn’t he?

I’m not arguing with you personally; I’m anticipating the arguments of the folks that I have these kinds of discussions with.

Thanks. :tiphat:


#13

#14

[quote=Randy Carson;11142595I]I understand that awhile ago the Vatican shut down an 800-number set up by the Diocese of Philadephia that people could use to call a priest for confession, counseling, etc.
[/quote]

I will admit that I find it hard to believe that any Catholic diocese, let alone one of the oldest and most prestigious archdioceses in the USA, set up such a telephone line over which confessions were intended to be heard. Would you please share a reference on this? Thank you.


#15

Great reply!

I recently had to tell my mentor in the faith that her watching the Assumption Mass on TV didn’t fulfill her obligation. She was very surprised. Apparently my friend has gone through her life without fully understanding the Church’s teaching on this.


#16

If it’s such a big no no, why then does EWTN rebroadcast Mass multiple times a day or special event Masses? Why then are so many Catholic churches now web streaming Mass and then making it available as an archive?

When one simply can not make it to Mass for whatever reason, like it was for me last weekend, I see no problem with watching Mass online. I think of it as part of The New Evangelization.

Like it or not, life for most of us does not come to a screatching halt on Sunday. A few years ago, you were out of luck if for whatever reason you couldn’t make it to Mass. In 2013, you are no longer out of luck.

One parish here in Des Mones has this on their website:

We are now telecasting
Sunday Mass!
Sundays — Mass telecast 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday — Repeat of Mass telecast 7:00 p.m.
Look for us on Mediacom Digital Converter
/DTA Ch 84, Quam Tuner-Ch. 96.11
. . .or watch it live Sundays
from your computer
TELECAST OF MASS
. . .or anytime on YouTube
REPLAY OF SUNDAY HOMILY


#17

During RAGBRAI (Des Moines Register’s Great Bike Ride Across Iowa), two priests had a tailgate tent set up along the route outside of Des Monies to hear confessions.


#18

I don’t believe anyone is suggesting that there is anything wrong with watching Mass on television or online. What is being pointed out is that this would not satify one’s obligation to attend Mass. :slight_smile:


#19

Because some people like to see a Mass they think is more reverent than what they have to attend in their local parishes. Others want to listen to a good homily and they think that the EWTN Masses will provide that. Some people would like to go to daily Mass but are unable and so like to see the streamed Mass online for a spiritual pick me up.


#20

Watching mass is edifying, but it does not fulfill your obligation to attend Mass in person if you are able to do so.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.