Telephone Confession

Has anyone ever heard of going to confession via telephone? For someone who is elderly and lives a long way from a church?

No, as a confession is only valid in a persona to persona case. Confession away from a priest is not a confession. It is a conversation. And therefore not valid.

Confessions CANNOT be done over the phone, through email, text, online, or whatever.
You must personally be present with a priest otherwise a Confession is not valid.
For an elderly person wishing to confess an arrangement would have to be made to take the person to Confession or for a priest to visit the home of such a person.

no it is not permitted. The person or the caretaker should ask the priest to visit.

I can hear it now:

For sins of commission, press 1.
For sins of omission, press 2.
To speak with a confessor now, press zero.
To repeat this menu, press the star key.


Today, and before our time back to the beginning the presence of the confessant was and is required for valid confession.

The matter of the sacraments is the acts of the penitent: contrition, confession, satisfaction, the form is the words of the priest: I absolve you. Notable exception that unconscious person, even dead within half hours after the visible signs of the death may receive conditional absolution, without confession.

Theologically the church can allow the validity of absolution through secure phone or internet connection.

It is invalid now, but the Church has the loosing and binding power and there is no excluding theological reason. (except the necessary delegation of power for that kind of communication)

Long before the invention of the telephone, there were traveling priests and communities would rejoice when the priest was available to celebrate mass, celebrate marriage, baptism and confession. How does this person receive Eucharist? Who takes care of this person? The same person who takes the elderly to the doctor can take him/her to church.

People in Christ Church New Zealand are WALKING for hours to attend church after the churches in their city were destroyed by earthquake.

The young people in communities need to be accommodating to the elderly and provide assistance with transportation.

I don’t believe there is anything that would prohibit the Church from making tele-confessions quite valid. I think it would actually boost the use of the sacrament a great deal. I also think something would be lost in terms of having to swallow one’s pride and sit in line for confession with everyone else.

I would agree.

You do know that humility is a virtue and pride is a capital sin, right? If pride is keeping one out of the confessional, then that is just one more sin to confess.

No, not telephone confession, but this one should be close enough… :D:p:eek:

Read/understand what I wrote.

There are lots of practical reasons militating against confession by telephone though.

The Church must strenuously preserve the seal of the confessional and the anonymity of the penitent for starters.

I don’t believe there is technology that is anywhere near fool-proof in terms of preventing people listening in by tapping the phone line. And if there were, it would be difficult to ensure the privacy of both priest and penitent.

Besides which, phone calls can be traced - so much for anonymity!

i did read and understand. You are concerned about people being embarrassed to stand in line. This should not be an issue. We are all sinners.

Would the penitents dial 1-800-SPIRI-2-2-0 ? :slight_smile:

LilyM it more than just anonimity. The confession I go to at St Josephs are public. Two foot by two foot screen seperates you and the priest in the front of church. Every one knows who is having a confession heard and if you talk to loud or someone sits to close they will hear it also.

the sincereity of our sorrow demands a person to person meeting with Christ. If you get an apology - does it mean more when delivered face to face or over the phone.

For a closet catholic it would be great in my case i am not old enough to go and do as i please it would be great. Another question could you had bottle of holy water from the baptismal font and with a priest on the phone baptize your self? I know dumb question but just wondering?

No on both instances. There has to be personal contact between the minister and the recipient of the Sacrament

I wish. If you could (which I did research in and found out you can’t) then i would have confession every day. sometimes even five minutes after my previous confession. One of the things you can do is either have someone drive you there or have the priest drive to you. since you said your elderly, there is the concern of you dieing without confession, (which if it happens and you tried real hard to get to confession before dieing then you are automatically absolved so don’t worry too much about it) which means they might be extra leniant and make time if they don’t have it.

Thanks to everyone who answered.

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