Secrecy Above All

dotCommonweal notes this story on no phone-in or internet confessions for Coptic Christians. I noted the given reason in the press:

Confessions over the telephone are forbidden, because there is a chance the telephones are monitored and the confessions will reach state security.


A confession over the Internet does not count as a confession, because everybody can look at it and it won’t be secret.

I hope there was more.

Privacy is indeed important, but the Roman reasoning has stated that a sacrament requires a physical presence of celebrants: minister and recipient both. That trumps another value, privacy. Privacy, of course, remains gravely important.

If a person were to overhear a confession that would not invalidate the sacrament. If accidental, it would be unfortunate. If intentional, gravely sinful. But still the sacrament would remain valid.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Church News, Liturgy. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Secrecy Above All

  1. Chris says:

    Todd, In my parish in Massachusetts, my pastor was busy at the printed confession time. He told me to come into the sacristy to do confession. I did, but people kept walking in and out while I was trying to confess! Needless to say, I didn’t feel uplifted. Was this an invalid confession?

  2. Liam says:

    How I love it when priests treat penitents as scrupulous parasites on the priest’s valuable and limited time.

  3. Todd says:

    Chris, the snark in me would say valid confession, invalid approach to ministry.

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