I’ve always wondered if the church could offer the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) online? Perhaps through a chat service or possibly email? Are there any rules against this? Obviousally, a personal confession would be best, but would appreciate and utilize this if it were an option.
Since sacraments only operate in person it would not be possible to offer any of the sacraments in the method you suggest. About 15 years ago the issue of telephonic confession was raised and the Church stated that this was a “hands on” ministry that required the presence of the penitent and the priest.
"The sacrament of confession requires the physical presence of the priest and the penitent. Privacy is absolutely not guaranteed on Internet, and there is no certainty as to the identity of the two parties to the communication. You can’t have confession by e-mail, any more than you can have it by telephone or letter."
The sacrament of confession must always take place in “the sacramental context of a personal encounter.”
“Internet offers the Church the opportunity to make the saving message of Christ accessible throughout the world. In societies that don’t allow the presence of priests, nuns, religious or lay missionaries, Internet can offer people undertaking a spiritual quest, or even just the curious, a chance to obtain information or find an inspiration that would otherwise be impossible.”
Archbishop John Foley, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Nope. It has to be done in person in order for the Sacrament to work.
Sending your Confession by e-mail is a particularly bad idea, since there are so many different computers, together with their operators and service technicians, that it goes through before it reaches its final destination.
It seems that there is a thread running through these forums concerning inquiries about online confessions…lack of HUMILITY when it comes to actual face to face or in the traditional Confessionals. I personally prefer the traditional setting. The sacrament in person is very POWERFUL and HUMBLING to the Soul. In today’s modern world, Mankind finds it extremely difficult to practice the Virtue of Humility. Humility takes great courage and personal sacrifice to go to confession in person.
You may not have known this. It’s against the forum rules to resurrect old threads.
Peace be with you and welcome to the forums,