FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: COULD a Confession be done by phone or video call in a worst-case scenario?
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
I don’t know the theology of the Sacraments well enough to know.
No, it cannot be done over the phone, through video call, or anything else like that.  In a worst-case scenario, you should make the best act of contrition you can.  A perfect act of contrition, which includes resolution to go to confession as soon as possible, forgives sins.  This video might help you understand your specific question a bit more: 

(03-16-2020, 06:01 PM)FultonFan Wrote: [ -> ]I don’t know the theology of the Sacraments well enough to know.

From everything I've read, no. 

Will they make exceptions in the future?  Is that possible?  Maybe someone knows...

In any case remember that a sincere act of contrition when nothing else is available is true source of consolation.

Don't let this scare you!  St. Therese turned the tables on scruples and fear, saying that even if one's sins be as scarlet they should run into the arms of the Good God.  She says that one's sins are like a drop of water thrown into the fires of His heart.  

God loves the soul who trusts in Him!  :heart:

I've struggled with trusting Him so much recently but I am learning to surrender more and more each day.  I am even offering up temptations that cause me suffering to God for my soul and others in danger of Hell and they desist faster than holy water or prayer provides!  Take that, Satan!

A good article for increasing our trust and reliance:

St. Therese’s daring teaching on Purgatory
from: https://contemplativehomeschool.com/2014...purgatory/


(sorry, too dizzy to parse it out right now :P)
Quote:Before we discuss St. Therese of Lisieux’s teaching on Purgatory, I want to put that teaching into context. Her teaching is daring. Some of the nuns she lived with in the Carmelite monastery were scandalized by it, thinking it presumptuous. The last thing St. Therese (or I) would want is for people to interpret her teaching in such a way that they thought they could be spiritually lax and still go straight to Heaven.
So, As you read about her teaching, keep these things in mind:
Therese is a doctor of the Church. The Church has only 35 doctors, four of them women. Now, being a doctor of the Church doesn’t mean she was infallible. But it does mean that the Church especially recommends her spirituality for Christians in any age. Therese is the Doctor of the Little Way of Spiritual Childhood, and her teaching on Purgatory was part of that Little Way.
St. Therese was completely orthodox. This follows from #1. What she taught about Purgatory must never be taken to contradict official Church teaching on the subject.
Presumption is a sin. And if we presume that God will forgive our mortal sins without true repentance and a visit to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that presumption is a mortal sin.
Can we avoid Purgatory?
So, what did St. Therese say about Purgatory?
When she was assistant novice mistress, she began teaching the novices under her that they could avoid Purgatory. What was so daring about this? None of the novices was especially holy! All of them were average Catholic women, with natural weaknesses. They had very few meritorious acts to balance the weight of their sins. Some of them even had personality problems. Therese taught them they could go straight to Heaven when they died.
How?
Simple. By trusting God for everything.
An antidote to Jansenism
Therese grew up in a France that was still greatly influenced by Jansenism. French Catholics believed God was exacting. If you wanted to be holy, you had to not only do your duty, but perform a host of good works to earn spiritual merit. If you stored up enough merits, you could avoid Purgatory.
When Therese was little, her sister Marie brought home from boarding school a string of sacrifice beads. Marie was to use the beads to count the day’s merits. Zelie Martin, Therese’s mother, gave one to Celine so she could count merits too. Then Therese, who was still a preschooler, wanted one as well.
As Therese grew older, she struggled with scruples. She knew she was not particularly strong. In fact, psychologically, she was very sensitive and immature following her mother’s death. How could she ever accumulate enough merit?
She pondered this question for a few years before the Lord showed her the answer through Sacred Scripture. The quick way to holiness, the easy way to go straight to Heaven, was to abandon oneself totally to God as a child entrusts himself fully to his father. The Little Way of Spiritual Childhood was born.
Therese stopped storing up merits for herself. She still performed little meritorious acts, but she offered them all for others. Her plan was to have no merits in her account on the Day of Judgment.
The power of empty hands
One day towards the end of Therese’s life, her sister Pauline (now Mother Agnes of Jesus) lamented having no good works to offer to God on Judgment Day. Therese considered herself “in the same circumstances.” It did not perturb here. Since she could give God nothing, he would supply everything.
“As far as little ones are concerned, they will be judged with great gentleness… ‘At the end, the Lord will rise up to save the gentle and the humble of the earth.’ It doesn’t say ‘to judge’; but ‘to save.'” (Last Conversations, 67)
When we stop counting our merits, we learn to rely totally on God. A baby can do nothing for himself. He depends on his parents for everything. This is Therese’s spiritual attitude. She gave away everything she could possibly have placed her confidence in, so that God would be her all in all. She was poor in spirit out of love for God. She knew that God would no more be harsh with her for having no spiritual possessions than a mother is harsh with her baby for needing to be fed and clothed.
Isn’t this presumption?
Sr. Febronie, the sub-prioress, was scandalized by what Therese told the novices. How could an average, ordinary Christian expect to go straight to Heaven? Therese told her,
“My sister, if you desire God’s justice, you will have God’s justice. The soul receives exactly what she looks for from God.” (NPPA of
Sr. Marie of the Angels, my translation)
After Sr. Febronie died in a flu epidemic, Therese dreamed the sister was suffering in Purgatory. She had indeed received the justice she had expected.
How can we avoid presumption and have true trust? By working tirelessly to conquer our sins and attachments.
Therese never let the novices be spiritually lax. But she knew that some habits of sin and weakness are so deeply ingrained that God Himself must free us from them. She experienced such a miracle herself. On Christmas Eve, shortly before her fourteenth birthday, God removed the psychological weakness that had held her bound for a decade.
Therese believed that God would perform similar miracles for those who completely trust Him. We do not have to despair when we seem to make no headway against sin, despite our efforts. We can trust that in God’s time–which may be our last moment of life on earth–He will relieve our burdens. What we cannot do for ourselves, He will delight to do for us.
But only if we trust Him.
Connie Rossini
No! Make a good Act of Contrition.

Father Zed discusses how absolution my be validly given in times of infectious disease.

From Fr Z's Blog


From a reader…QUAERITUR:
Quote:I just read that Italy is taking the measure of locking down the entire country, 60 million people, until 3 April.  I don’t know if this is irrational panic or not.  Let’s say that it is.  Let’s say this coronavirus or another disease gets really bad.

If the country is on lockdown I suppose we won’t have the obligation to go to Mass on Sundays.

However, how would we get Last Rites or make a confession?  If priests have the right or permission to move around for pastoral emergencies, how would they hear our confessions if we can’t let them in or go out?
If things get really really really bad, there is the option of General Absolution.  A priest, even from a bit of a distance, could absolve a group of people of their sins.  That said, when the emergency abated, everyone who had received that absolution would have to go to regular auricular confession as soon as possible, except in the case of danger of death.

But, sticking to the scenario as presented…

Last Rites, which means (possibly) confession, with anointing and administration of Viaticum.   That would require that the priest by physically present to the person.  A priest could use a tong to administer the anointing and even the Host for Communion.  But he has to be within reach physically to anoint the person on the skin.

Confession.   This is a little more flexible.   I am running scenarios through my mind.
For absolution to be valid, the priest and the penitent must be present to each other physically.  They don’t have to be close.  I think that present means within hearing distance.  If the priest and penitent are far enough apart that they have to shout and other people could hear them, in that case, General Absolution can be used.

But wait!  Perhaps you have seen that in some older confessionals there were electronic devices like telephones in a jail visiting room for penitents (or priests!) who were hard of hearing.  Therefore, the penitent, on the other side of the grate, could use an electronic means to make himself heard.

If that is the case, I think that the priest, on one side of the door, and the penitent, on the other side of the door, could communicate the matter of the confession (the sins) and subsequent counsel and penance, either by raising their voices (if not using General Absolution) or even by mobile phone, or text.  Yes, there could be a risk that someone might intercept.  However, I don’t see a difference between that and the confessional amplifier other than the fact that the confessional amplifier is an enclosed system.  The priest is physical present, as if on the other side of a confessional grate and the matter of the confession (sins) is communicated.  The priest can validly absolve.

Could that same thing work if, for example, the priest were in a car on the street, and the penitent were at the door or window of a house or apartment.  Within sight and hearing, but at a distance and where people might hear?   I think so, provided they are within sight and hearing.  In that case, perhaps, a mobile phone could be used and absolution could be given with a raised voice.

Let’s have another futuristic scenario.  Remember that I am character in a sci-fi book series!  I know what I am talking about.

Let’s say that I am chaplain in the SpaceForce and we are deployed in our space wing.  If you, an attack vehicle door gunner get grazed with a chemical oxygen iodine laser and you are, so to speak, toast, you could key me via comms (“CHAPS! I’m HIT!”). I, from another ship, would activate my jetpack, get eyes on you in your red shirt/space armor and absolve you, dodging the debris and force beams.  I could probably validly absolve you over comms if I can get into moral physical contact even though the sound of my voice cannot travel through the void of space!

Alternatively, since I have been doing some reading around the topic of the administration of sacraments by the deaf or by the mute priest, and there are evolving views of what “language” means, I might, might, if comms were down, when you are trapped behind a bulkhead and losing oxygen, I might be able to absolve you by tapping and scraping (dits and longer dahs) in Morse code with a specially blessed titanium hammer I could have for that purpose (provided you know Morse!!).  Yes, you would have to know Morse code.   But I couldn’t absolve in Morse from another ship.  I’d have to be on the other side of that bulkhead doing it physically with my Titanium Absolution Form Hammer (officially designated TITFAB-RC or my Space Marines have lovingly dubbed it, the “Tap Out”).  Given that this is a thick bulkhead and I am using a hammer to scrape and tap, I might be able to tap/scrape either in zero-G (ZIGEE) or compromised artificial-G (ARTGEE), what? 10 WPM?
:00
Another reason to learn Morse code.

Now, if we were time travelling, and the the polarity was suddenly reversed… which I don’t rule out…

Leave that for another day.

Just to be clear, anyone can make a confession via megaphone, telephone, semaphore flags, or ham radio.  A priest cannot validly absolve solely by those means.    He must be physically present to you, at least morally.  There must be adequate proximity to use an electronic intermediary.  You can’t be absolved if you are in, say, Columbia Heights, and I am here in the Cupboard Under The Stairs.


All the more reason to GO TO CONFESSION while you can do so easily!
(03-16-2020, 06:32 PM)Sacred Heart lover Wrote: [ -> ]Will they make exceptions in the future?  Is that possible?  Maybe someone knows...

No, it is not possible.  The matter and form are literally not present to each other.  I can speak my sins into a phone that carries the sound to the priest on the other end, just as the phone then carries the sound of the words of absolution to me on my end of the phone but we aren't present to each other, so neither are our words actually present to one another.  It would be like a priest attempting baptism by pouring the water next to, but not on, the baby or catechumen.
(03-16-2020, 06:43 PM)SeekerofChrist Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-16-2020, 06:32 PM)Sacred Heart lover Wrote: [ -> ]Will they make exceptions in the future?  Is that possible?  Maybe someone knows...

No, it is not possible.  The matter and form are literally not present to each other.  I can speak my sins into a phone that carries the sound to the priest on the other end, just as the phone then carries the sound of the words of absolution to me on my end of the phone but we aren't present to each other, so neither are our words actually present to one another.  It would be like a priest attempting baptism by pouring the water next to, but not on, the baby or catechumen.

Thanks.  How about general absolution given in a time of emergency?
(03-16-2020, 06:44 PM)Sacred Heart lover Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-16-2020, 06:43 PM)SeekerofChrist Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-16-2020, 06:32 PM)Sacred Heart lover Wrote: [ -> ]Will they make exceptions in the future?  Is that possible?  Maybe someone knows...

No, it is not possible.  The matter and form are literally not present to each other.  I can speak my sins into a phone that carries the sound to the priest on the other end, just as the phone then carries the sound of the words of absolution to me on my end of the phone but we aren't present to each other, so neither are our words actually present to one another.  It would be like a priest attempting baptism by pouring the water next to, but not on, the baby or catechumen.

Thanks.  How about general absolution given in a time of emergency?

I don't know as much about general absolutions but as I understand it, in a time of emergency, a priest can grant general absolution to a group.  He is physically present and the individual members of the group must have the intention of going to individual confession when possible.  On the penitent's part, they must have contrition for their sins.  I am not entirely certain but having the desire to go to confession would seem like contrition in the case of the emergency general absolution, so matter and form are therefore present for the general absolution.
(03-16-2020, 06:39 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]No! Make a good Act of Contrition.

Father Zed discusses how absolution my be validly given in times of infectious disease.

From Fr Z's Blog


From a reader…QUAERITUR:
Quote:I just read that Italy is taking the measure of locking down the entire country, 60 million people, until 3 April.  I don’t know if this is irrational panic or not.  Let’s say that it is.  Let’s say this coronavirus or another disease gets really bad.

If the country is on lockdown I suppose we won’t have the obligation to go to Mass on Sundays.

However, how would we get Last Rites or make a confession?  If priests have the right or permission to move around for pastoral emergencies, how would they hear our confessions if we can’t let them in or go out?
If things get really really really bad, there is the option of General Absolution.  A priest, even from a bit of a distance, could absolve a group of people of their sins.  That said, when the emergency abated, everyone who had received that absolution would have to go to regular auricular confession as soon as possible, except in the case of danger of death.

But, sticking to the scenario as presented…

Last Rites, which means (possibly) confession, with anointing and administration of Viaticum.   That would require that the priest by physically present to the person.  A priest could use a tong to administer the anointing and even the Host for Communion.  But he has to be within reach physically to anoint the person on the skin.

Confession.   This is a little more flexible.   I am running scenarios through my mind.
For absolution to be valid, the priest and the penitent must be present to each other physically.  They don’t have to be close.  I think that present means within hearing distance.  If the priest and penitent are far enough apart that they have to shout and other people could hear them, in that case, General Absolution can be used.

But wait!  Perhaps you have seen that in some older confessionals there were electronic devices like telephones in a jail visiting room for penitents (or priests!) who were hard of hearing.  Therefore, the penitent, on the other side of the grate, could use an electronic means to make himself heard.

If that is the case, I think that the priest, on one side of the door, and the penitent, on the other side of the door, could communicate the matter of the confession (the sins) and subsequent counsel and penance, either by raising their voices (if not using General Absolution) or even by mobile phone, or text.  Yes, there could be a risk that someone might intercept.  However, I don’t see a difference between that and the confessional amplifier other than the fact that the confessional amplifier is an enclosed system.  The priest is physical present, as if on the other side of a confessional grate and the matter of the confession (sins) is communicated.  The priest can validly absolve.

Could that same thing work if, for example, the priest were in a car on the street, and the penitent were at the door or window of a house or apartment.  Within sight and hearing, but at a distance and where people might hear?   I think so, provided they are within sight and hearing.  In that case, perhaps, a mobile phone could be used and absolution could be given with a raised voice.

Let’s have another futuristic scenario.  Remember that I am character in a sci-fi book series!  I know what I am talking about.

Let’s say that I am chaplain in the SpaceForce and we are deployed in our space wing.  If you, an attack vehicle door gunner get grazed with a chemical oxygen iodine laser and you are, so to speak, toast, you could key me via comms (“CHAPS! I’m HIT!”). I, from another ship, would activate my jetpack, get eyes on you in your red shirt/space armor and absolve you, dodging the debris and force beams.  I could probably validly absolve you over comms if I can get into moral physical contact even though the sound of my voice cannot travel through the void of space!

Alternatively, since I have been doing some reading around the topic of the administration of sacraments by the deaf or by the mute priest, and there are evolving views of what “language” means, I might, might, if comms were down, when you are trapped behind a bulkhead and losing oxygen, I might be able to absolve you by tapping and scraping (dits and longer dahs) in Morse code with a specially blessed titanium hammer I could have for that purpose (provided you know Morse!!).  Yes, you would have to know Morse code.   But I couldn’t absolve in Morse from another ship.  I’d have to be on the other side of that bulkhead doing it physically with my Titanium Absolution Form Hammer (officially designated TITFAB-RC or my Space Marines have lovingly dubbed it, the “Tap Out”).  Given that this is a thick bulkhead and I am using a hammer to scrape and tap, I might be able to tap/scrape either in zero-G (ZIGEE) or compromised artificial-G (ARTGEE), what? 10 WPM?
:00
Another reason to learn Morse code.

Now, if we were time travelling, and the the polarity was suddenly reversed… which I don’t rule out…

Leave that for another day.

Just to be clear, anyone can make a confession via megaphone, telephone, semaphore flags, or ham radio.  A priest cannot validly absolve solely by those means.    He must be physically present to you, at least morally.  There must be adequate proximity to use an electronic intermediary.  You can’t be absolved if you are in, say, Columbia Heights, and I am here in the Cupboard Under The Stairs.


All the more reason to GO TO CONFESSION while you can do so easily!


I saw your post earlier but didn't see the whole article so I'm reposting it here in case others missed it too. :)
Also, we all know we must confess our sins to the best of our ability.  In the case of a general absolution in an emergency, our ability to make a confession of our sins in kind and number is impossible.  I don't know the specifics of a general absolution but I imagine it includes a general confession of sin, which is the best the group can manage under the circumstances.
This reminds of that movie about Saint Damien who lived with the lepers in Molokai, Hawaii.

The Bishop had to visit by ship but wouldn't disembark for fear of leprosy.   So Father Damien, while sitting in a small boat aside the ship, had to shout his sins loud enough for the Bishop, and everyone else to hear. :/

Pages: 1 2