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Can a priest hear confession over the phone?
With regard to Penance, it is clear that the Sacrament is not to be celebrated via cell phone. In addition, in the present circumstances cell phones should not be used even for the amplification of voices between a confessor and penitent who are in visual range of each other. Current threats against the seal of confession also raise questions about information on cell phones.
It is important to note that the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation has not been prohibited during the pandemic in the Archdiocese of Detroit and pastors have been encouraged throughout to use their discretion to determine how to safely administer this sacrament to the faithful.
When it is impossible to receive sacramental absolution through individual confession, due to lack of availability or the individual’s inability to leave home during the pandemic, perfect contrition obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1452). Perfect contrition consists of:
- The love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and
- The firm resolution to go to sacramental confession as soon as possible.