Drive through confessionals – WDTPRS POLL

We have talked about iPad Roman Missals on the altar.  We have talked about ATMs in the narthex of church’s for your weekly donations.  We have talked about electric vigil lights, and recorded music, and microphones, hand sanitizer at Communion.  We have talked about iPhone apps to help you examine your conscience.

How about drive through confession?

It doesn’t matter if this is a 1 April thing or not.

From the Herald Sun of Australia.

VIDEO: Pitstop penance

Your sins forgiven on the run

Terry Brown
From: Herald Sun

SINFUL drivers can repent on the run with the opening today of Australia’s first drive-through confessional.

The pray-as-you-go service is to become slicker, with a sin-selection board to be installed by Easter and a smartphone app on the way.

South Melbourne Catholic priest Fr Bob McGuire said yesterday that the move brought the church up to speed with modern life.

“Everybody drives past this place but no one comes in,” Fr McGuire said.

“Now they can stop at the window, open their window and confess their sins. Then I’ll reassure them that they’ll be right.”

Do you think the drive-through confessional is a good idea? Tell us below

The 60-second car wash for the soul includes a symbolically refreshing spray of rose water[Why not just call it McPenance?]

A flashing green light will signal when a driver’s sins have been forgiven. “When you’re driving out you’ll be clean as a whistle,” Fr McGuire said.  [So... it's like a car wash.  And it had better be a touchless car wash.]

The seven cardinal sins – lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride – will be numbered on a sign, Chinese menu-style.  [Or a Taco Bell window.]

From 6.30am, sinners will repent at a mobile unit dubbed the Hopemobile in the St Peter and Paul’s church driveway, confessing, for instance, to three No.7s and a No.4.

Fr McGuire said the coded response was meant to maintain confidentiality.

A more permanent set-up should be in place by Easter and Fr McGuire is hoping for a sponsor to cover set-up costs.

He said some overseas churches had confessional sponsors. At least one had a bookmaker as the backer. “They called it O’Flaherty’s sin bin or something,” he said. [They... did?]

The phone app, sourced from the US, will let drivers select deadly sins from a list, which will appear in front of the priest on a screen when the car pulls up.  [We are straying onto more difficult ground now.  Absolution, the form, must be pronounced to a person who is actually present. The matter of the confession is concerned, the communication of the sins themselves in number and kind, can be conveyed in different ways.]

It will also advise on the correct form of words to use.

“Part of it’s being already used in one church in the US,” Fr McGuire said.  [It is?]

“I think it’s even been passed by the church police. [Okay... that's glib, but who would that be?  The local bishop?  The CDF?  The CDW?]

“It’s the combining it with being forgiven for your sins in the flesh that hasn’t been tried.”

Fr McGuire ran a trial of drive-by prayer three weeks ago, on Ash Wednesday, but gave it up for Lent.

It is all very sly and funny that way, right?

But … is there something to this?   Seriously?

There is a poll at that newspaper site.  I think their question is wrong: “Is the quickie confession a good idea?”  Yes.  No.  It seems to me that the length of the confession is not the point.  Was the confession complete and sincere?

Okay.   Let’s have a poll and a focused look at this, regardless of the calendar.

Chose the best answer (yes, I know there are other possible answers) and give your reasons in the combox.  Let’s keep this as focused as possible.

I think a drive-through confessional ...

View Results

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, POLLS. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Drive through confessionals – WDTPRS POLL

  1. Thomas in MD says:

    My first thought was that it degrades, but after all the problems I have had finding a church with workable confession times, I think almost any solution is a good one if the priest and penitent take it seriously.

  2. Jenny says:

    Are you sure this isn’t satire?

    More generally…it might be okay if everyone took it very seriously but that is one big if. A very slippery slope. Would you like fries with that?

  3. dmwallace says:

    Is it April Fool’s Day in Australia already?

  4. Jenny says:

    dmwallace has the right answer. Look at the dateline on the article. :)

  5. MichaelJ says:

    A few short weeks ago, a very wise Priest I know of explained why a Confession taken over the telephone was invalid. He explaint, as I recall, that it was invalid because the priest was hearing a reproduction of the penitant’s voice.
    How then, can this be even briefly thought to be valid? If I “select deadly sins from a list, which will appear in front of the priest on a screen”, isn’t this also a simulation? Even if I speak into the clown’s mouth, the Priest will still be hearing a reproduction. I don’t get it.

    [You will at times find in confessionals phone-like hearing aids for people who need them.]

  6. Mike says:

    My Confessions are usually brief, but the idea of drive-up anything is exactly the opposite of what we need, culturally and spiritually.

  7. Titus says:

    The details and the accouterments might be good or bad; it’s hard to tell. But the idea of putting a confessional on the side of a road with a drive-through, well, that doesn’t sound bad at all. Didn’t there use to be little road-side shrines where people traveling on foot or by horse could basically do the same thing?

  8. maskaggs says:

    I’m with dmwallace. The midnight time stamp seems awfully fishy.

  9. Evangeliman says:

    Yep, definitely a joke.

  10. Everyone:  Let me see if I can get this across clearly.

    Who cares if it is an 1 April thing or not?

    The question remains the same.

    Drive through confession.

    Yes? No? Why?

  11. The voices sound like the comedy duo who do “The Front Fell Off”.

  12. Stuart James says:

    “McPenance” – Thank you, that really made me laugh.

  13. Jack Hughes says:

    its a bad idea; I just hate the idea of ‘quickie confession’ even if it is in a Church with the priest behind a screen (there is a nearby church where confession is offered 15 mins mon-sat, it literally is very quick) , I go once a week to the same priest where we take a good 5-10 minuites (there are only ever 3 or so pennitents on a saturday evening) to go through a good confesion.

    my message to Fr. Mcquire – take time in person, don’t move with the times when it comes to the sacraments.

  14. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I somewhat sympathize with Thos above as I’ve had quite a bit of difficulty figuring out the logistics of getting to confession. (I even considered taking half a day off work and driving from Denver to Colorado Springs to avail myself of the Capuchins’ atypical site for confessions.) After a bit of thought, though, a drive-through doesn’t seem to lend itself to the reverence of the occasion and there are logistical issues that make me wonder about just how confidential it would be.

  15. dmwallace says:

    Here’s a canonical consideration as to why “Drive Thru” Confessions are bad:

    Can. 964 §1. The proper place to hear sacramental confessions is a church or oratory.

    §2. The conference of bishops is to establish norms regarding the confessional; it is to take care, however, that there are always confessionals with a fixed grate between the penitent and the confessor in an open place so that the faithful who wish to can use them freely.

    §3. Confessions are not to be heard outside a confessional without a just cause.

    Is convenience a just cause?

  16. Jacob says:

    There’s something to be said for making the effort to enter a church and go to confession. After all, we don’t laud the parent who takes his or her kids to McDonalds every night because the parent is too lazy to bother having a family supper. Families bond over the dining room table, not with the cashier at the drive-thru window. I would say the same is true of penitent and confessor.

  17. Dirichlet says:

    It is a pretty bad idea. Reconciliation is something *very* serious and requires time for examination of conscience, the confession itself and then penance. Where are they going to examine their consciences/pray their penances? In their cars?

    Ridiculous modernism. But I think it’s an April Fool’s troll.

  18. amenamen says:

    Confessions can be anywhere, at any time: in a combat zone, in a hospital room, leaning out of a car window. However, I doubt that it would be a very effective way to attract many penitents, after the April Fool’s Day novelty wears off.

    There is no guarantee that either the priest or the penitent would make it a “quick” confession, even if there is a long line of penitential vehicles in the Drive-Thru lane.

    Also, it would have to be limited to cars with no passengers. The conscientious driver of a High Occupancy Vehicle would have to get out of the car , or go somewhere else.

    Would there be a screen?

  19. asophist says:

    Drive-by confession is not conducive to the feeling that anything sacred and sacramental is happening. It seems to trivialize what is happening; viz: the application of Christ’s suffering on the cross to our sinful state, thus converting it to a state of holiness and union (however imperfect and temporary) with God. This is enormously important to our very existence. How can a “drive-by experience” help us in appreciating the grand gift of eternal life with God that is guaranteed to be ours as a result of a good confession? It wouldn’t. I hope it is never implemented.

  20. jarthurcrank says:

    There is an old joke about drive-thru confessionals in which the bishop pulled the plug on the drive-thru concept when the young priest who erected one put up a sign on the side of the road which said “Toot-N-Tell Or Go To Hell!”

  21. ckdexterhaven says:

    I voted that it wasn’t a bad idea. This is why.

    During Advent, my family went to a communal penance service, the church had about 15 priests available to hear confessions. The church was packed, and priests were stationed around the perimeters of the church. The priest and the penitent had to sit knee to knee with other parishioners sitting not two feet away. My husband hadn’t been to confession in over 6 months, and really wanted to confess, but he refused. I can’t blame him. Other times, I’ve had my little kids with me, waiting on the confession line for 2 hours (for the once a week confession), and my children disturbed others around us. I know my kids were bothering other people, and it was deeply embarrassing. With kids in the car, I wouldn’t be able to do drive up, but maybe busy people could.

    Obviously, it’s not the best situation, but that communal penance service was worse!

  22. JKnott says:

    I voted that it is a bad idea for several reasons.
    How can a priest determine whether the pennitent is making a good confession and desire to amend without a personal contact?
    Without a personal contact how can the Holy Spirit inspire the priest to offer guidance if necessary?
    It would hardly seem to encourage a strong interior life of prayer and compunction.
    It is just another slippery slope leading to eventual presumption on God’s mercy by it’s entirely utilitarian focus.
    And it certainly isn’t doing the younger people any favors.
    We meet Jesus in an intimate way through the priest in a confessional. How irreverent using and taking for granted God’s love in such a fashion.
    We can all find confession times if we really want to. It just means making a choice between giving up some secular function and going.
    More importantly, Father Mc – and all priests would be better to take courage and teach about confession in homilies in ways that encourage people to go, instead of drumming up more novelties to insult our Lord. Next step? Confessing to the Pink Panther!
    I had to rant.

  23. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z,
    You need one more choice in your poll:
    x Are you kidding me??????

  24. Sliwka says:

    I voted for “degrades the sacrament….”, though I do understand the occasional need for a quicker confession.

    I asked a priest last year on Ash Wednesday to hear my confession between Masses for schools. It was quick, but he was still able to offer sound advice and consul. There are then also times that a quick confession might not be appropriate. Would it be appropriate for a quick confession if someone confesses encouraging someone to have an abortion or something else equally as scandalous and evil?

  25. fieldsparrow says:

    I think it’s a terrible idea, mostly for reasons that are pretty well outlined in the decorum theory/”Power of Fancy” blog post you shared earlier.

  26. BaedaBenedictus says:

    I’d go if they called it a Shrive-Thru ;-) [That is really quite clever.]

    Fr. Z Gold Star Award

  27. tzard says:

    Is having the automobile right there a degradation? Technically, I think not. What if the situation was to pull in to the line, get out, kneel, say confession, receive absolution, get up, back in the car and go? Does it matter if the car is running? Or they’re sitting rather than kneeling? As long as there is proper form and intent, does it not make it valid (and licit)? It may not be the best, but it’s a sacrament – and if grace is present, then it’s a wonderful thing. One should always strive for better – but if the situation warrants….

    What if you turned it around – instead of pulling up to a drive-through, you stopped, the priest gets in the passenger seat, shields his eyes, and the penitent begins “bless me Father for I have sinned…” Imagine of a line of priests at the side of the road waiting for penitents to pick them up for confession – they drive around the corner, say the confession, and come back (sort of like lines of day workers waiting for a job). There’s a line of cars waiting for the next available priest.

  28. GordonB says:

    I think its a good idea. In considering new ways to evangelize in this day and age, we have to meet people where we find them–if this would take away excuses from going to confession, and if it presents the IDEA of confession in this “marketplace” of options out there for people, then I think its a good idea. I think Paul evangelized taking advantage of conventions of his day, I think we need to do the same in order to lead people to the faith. As long as its done seriously and reverentially, its a good thing.

  29. Iowander says:

    I don’t like this particular idea, but I appreciate the spirit of trying to make the sacrament more available. I’d even take a little more diversity in the regularly scheduled confession times. Around here, it’s 30-60 minutes on Saturday evenings right before the vigil Mass (every parish in town). How about a weekday lunch hour once-a-month?

  30. hawkeye says:

    Nothing about Confession surprises me anymore. Last night while I was in Adoration, there was a penance service going on in the main Church-conducted by a nun, not in habit of course. I got curious and went to the main Church to see if this was a practice or the real thing. It was the real thing as I saw two priests hearing the Confessions. When it was time for the penitents to go to Confession, they were escorted by their sponsor – RCIA candidates I imagine. I didn’t see anywhere where there was an opportunity for anonymous Confession, and a photographer was taking pictures of the people going to Confession. Whether he was in close enough proximity to hear what was going on, I could not tell. This was a first for me. I hope the Pastor was somewhere nearby, but I couldn’t see him. I went back to Adoration to pray for them. For me, I now make an appointment with my Confessor for the Sacrament. Can’t even imagine going through a drive through. But again, nothing surprises me anymore. So so sad.

  31. kolbe1019 says:

    No.

    1. I could see people failing to make an adequate examination of conscience, etc…

    2. You might get to many pranksters…

    I would love to see penance posts. Little chapels located throughout a diocese where Confession is being heard 12 hours a day 7 days a week. The priests could take shifts. Or even better every Catholic Church could offer confession regularly!

  32. APX says:

    In considering new ways to evangelize in this day and age, we have to meet people where we find them

    Eureka!
    Take Confession to the streets in the ConfessVan- The van that’s also a Confessional. Can’t get to Confession? Suffering from sloth? That’s okay because now Confession comes to you! Malls! Grocery Stores! Bars! the Ghetto! No more excuses! The ConfessVan can easily be spotted by its purple lightbar and purple decals. The ConfessVan doesn’t just drive; it shrives!

    But seriously now, I can only think of one situation such a thing would be a relatively okay idea, unless a priest has a legit way of getting around it. That situation would be with people who suffer from severe social anxiety/social phobia who cannot bring themselves to actually confess their sins to a priest because their irrational fear of being judged is just too great and causes them great anxiety and panic attacks. Having a very mild case of social anxiety makes me feel like I’m going to die when confessing. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone with a severe case to try to do Confession.

    That aside, I still think in order to get the most out of Confession it has to be in person.

  33. amenamen says:

    What does one call the Penitential Vehicle?
    (@APX: The “ConfessVan”)
    How about
    the Coupe de Grace? [Good one.]
    the Hail Mary Passenger Van?

  34. hicks says:

    No way, too convenient. It completely undermines the gravity of what is taking place. Might as well package the Eucharist in a cellophane wrapper and hand that out at a drive up. Even if such a thing was technically allowed, it would still trample all over the dignity of what is taking place.

    Plus, confession (of all things) should always be difficult, shouldn’t it? I get a sick feeling in my stomach before confession, and I feel a weight lifted after. That’s a good thing. I don’t know if I would really feel that way if I was just pressing buttons on my phone and having the priest text me my absolution or whatever.

  35. At the risk of looking foolish, I am going to approach this seriously. I had an 87-year-old friend who could barely get around. He still drove until his death, but he used a motorized wheelchair. He had to leave his house on a chair lift, then put his chair into the back of a van that had its own motorized chair lift, then lean on the side of the van as he slowly made his way to the driver’s seat and somehow got into the van. Getting out of the van to go to confession would not be a trivial task (though I never had occasion to ask how he did it or how often). If it were icy or wet out, he was probably homebound until the weather improved. For a man such as this, I could perhaps see some value in a legitimate drive-through confessional (without the facetious frills) that had a modicum of privacy and sacredness. But then again, wouldn’t it just be easier for the priest to go to him?

  36. APX says:

    @amenamen:

    What does one call the Penitential Vehicle?

    How about
    the Coupe de Grace?

    Hmm…that one might be a little too deadly and could scare away penitants. Possibly create scandal on Euthenasia as well.

    Perhaps an upscaled model for multiple confessions. One of those Volvo coach buses. Call it the Absolvo Volvo? Whatever it is, it needs incense scented air fresheners to give it that reverent church smell that automatically triggers those olfactory sensors and signals the penitants’ brain to bring back memories of church and Catholic things.

  37. I remember at the Cathedral in Austin Texas many, many years ago, they had daily confession for about a half-hour before Mass. One side of the Church had Msgr. Matocha (RIP), and the other had another priest. Matocha was the closest thing you could get to a drive-thru confession: Quick, effecient, and standardized. If you tried to put your sins in context, he would tell you “Just tell me your sins”, if you took too long, he would tell you to hurry up. He always gave you an Our Father and a Hail Mary as penance (once in a while, you would get a Glory Be – I always wondered if there was a particular Glory Be sin). It was the most impersonal confession of all time. Many people I know were somewhat traumatized by it (especially women who expected some sort of pastoral care).

    But the thing is – he always had the longest line, often of working class men. I figured there were several people who would never go to confession if they couldn’t get one of Matocha’s “drive thru” specials – quick, easy, and outathere.

    Maybe the idea of of a drive-thru window is a bit much, but if a special chapel was opened in each diocese where you could drive up, hop out of your car, and then quickly confess your sins, then there are some people who would avail themselves of the Sacrament who are frankly mortified of experiencing something akin to today’s popular “reconciliation rooms”.

    PS: @BaedaBenedictus Shrive-thru is classic!

  38. andreat says:

    While the thought of a quick confession is appealing, it is the preparation that would concern me. I prefer going into the church and having a brief time of prayer before confession. However, in my diocese, there are not enough confession times, and it seems that many (both priest and penitent) confuse confession with spiritual direction. A half hour of confessions doesn’t go far if each penitent takes 10 minutes. So yes, bring back “quick” (but sincere) confessions, but keep them in the church, in an appropriate confessional.

  39. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    I voted against, but add some qualifications.

    The principle is NOT wrong, just the WAY IT IS DESCRIBED in the article.
    1) The “numbered ” sins menu is really BAD. How long does it take to describe the sins? We are meant to name our sins clearly before God, not describe the sordid events in detail, this does not need to take all day!
    2) Fixed times for confession by the roadside – GOOD. Pulling up to a window, leaving the engine running; no time or place for preparation; sitting slouched in the diver’s seat – BAD. Why not have a small chapel-like booth with a grille confessional beside a car park? A bench for people to wait, under cover, a big crucifix to look at wile you wait, and in the the same amount of time as drive-through, accessible, conventional Confession and Absolution – Voila!
    3) PENANCE. You should do it as soon a possible, ideally before you drive way. This will not work with drive-through, or if it does, it will save no time.

  40. above BaedaBenedictus says: “Shrive-Thru” LOL!!!

    But seriously, I think many valid points are made above about the APPROACH to the Sacrament, and the way this “option” could change peoples’ understanding of the Sacrament. As to validity, it IS valid, even if illicit (“proper place”), if the priest is hearing the confession IN PERSON at the window (even if behind a screen) – I could see some practical issues with penitents having to scream to be heard over ambient noise. Really, an intercom would NOT be acceptable (remind me, I need to remove that ancient “hearing aid” device from my confessional – it looks like an old telephone from the forties with a tiny speaker on an ear-piece which the penitent can hold up to their ear) – one out of twenty penitents picks it up, none of them realize that IT DOESN’T WORK!). I am NOT in favor of the drive-through confessional, but I also realize different people have different expectations when they go to confession.

    Some want a quick experience – for various reasons – they confess their sins, precisely in kind and number, expect to receive a penance, (perhaps a word or two of advice,) make an act of contrition and receive VALID absolution. This NEED NOT take much more than a minute or two. It doesn’t help much for a confessor to attempt to engage THEM in deep introspection on their sins if they are not ready for that.

    On the other hand, some people approach the Sacrament and expect something with similitude to spiritual direction. That is fine as well, provided that they do not expect to take the entire (or a large portion of the) period allotted for confession while several other penitents are deprived of the Sacrament because of this (particularly when confessions are heard before Mass in a parish with only ONE priest who is both confessor and celebrant). If someone needs even more attention than that, then it is incumbent upon them to schedule a meeting with the (any) priest to discuss their “spiritual concerns.” A good confessor can gauge that need and must clearly, if delicately, direct those souls to be more succinct in their confession and seek spiritual direction in the proper context.

    The closest thing we have currently to drive-through confession is the communal penance service where priests are stationed around the church (a few years ago, pastors of the large parishes in Kansas City instructed the confessors to stand so as to discourage “lengthy” confessions. Obviously this doesn’t work either. Some would even go so far as to suggest an invalid confession – “just confess ONE SIN – One Sin per customer!”)

    The most effective way to encourage frequent and good confessional habits is for priests to drop the communal penance services – in favor of evenings of confession – that is, line up several priests, and publish the hours at which they will be available in the confessional (or some other proper place – since so many parishes have removed or destroyed their confessionals) ahead of time.

    Also, what is to stop ANY priest from arriving in Church an hour to 45 minutes before EACH weekday Mass and making himself available IN THE CONFESSIONAL at least 30 minutes before Mass begins. Some will object that it does not give them ample opportunity to become recollected before celebrating the Mass – that is NOT my experience. ON the contrary, hearing confessions before Mass is an act of pastoral charity, and God gives the confessor/celebrant all the graces necessary to go on to celebrate Mass afterwards! Hearing confessions on a regular, even DAILY basis will send the RIGHT signal to the faithful about the benefit of making a frequent confession. This is really a very simple formula – go to church early, put on a stole (ideally over an alb, if vesting for Mass, or a surplice – which is always worn over a cassock), take your breviary (if you think you will get bored if nobody shows up), and GET IN THE BOX!!! After a short period, such priests will NOT be able to pray The Office in the box, because the lines will begin forming as word gets out that Fr. X is in the confessional at 730 every morning at St. Ita’s. That’s enough for now! Maybe I should begin a blog post of my own on this topic!

  41. ron.d says:

    I think an idea like this would only work if they opened a second window which you pull up to prior to the priest’s window, where another qualified individual can walk you through an examination of conscience.

  42. APX says:

    3) PENANCE. You should do it as soon a possible, ideally before you drive way. This will not work with drive-through, or if it does, it will save no time.

    In all fairness, this doesn’t work in standard confession either if the priest gives you a somewhat longer penance than say 10 Hail Mary’s. Unless your penance requires you to read something, or you’re driving through busy traffic and have to keep even more focused on driving, it is very possible to do your penance whilst driving.

  43. Rouxfus says:

    @Charles Collins – St. Mary Cathedral in downtown Austin still offers the sacrament of confession every day starting at 11:00 am, an hour before noon Mass, usually with two priests in screened confessionals in the narthex. There are lines every day of the week.

    Some other good news is in Austin that the bell tower of the Cathedral was recently restored to working order and rededicated by Bishop Joe Vasquez. Now the Angelus bell rings in the noon hour, as the Angelus is prayed before the 12:05 “noon” mass, and the bells ring jubilantly at the consecration. Pure joy.

    No drive-thru innovations in Austin, please.

  44. pfreddys says:

    Actually, my only objection, if it were done seriously not like described in the article, would be that the penitent would not be able to kneel. But I feel unless you are physically unable to do so this is should be the usual position of a penitent.

  45. marthawrites says:

    No way: drive-through confessions. This is a SACRAMENT we’re talking about, and being able to confess from one’s car is just another example of secularizing the rituals formerly treated with reverence. If convenience is the priority, then parishioners should beg their priests to provide more times when they would be available in the confessional. The possibilities of trivializing the priest-penitent relationship are too mind-numbing to think about. Will the penitent be listening to a ballgame or rap music up until the second it’s his turn to confess? Will there be fender-benders when someone concentrating on his examination of conscience forgets to keep his foot on the brake? Spare me another form of abuse in the practice of our beloved faith.

  46. Andrew says:

    Jenny and dmwallace were on to this, right from the start.

    IT WAS AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE. I hate to say this, but you Yanks are always a bit too gullible, for your own good! [Perhaps you are lacking in the ability to read carefully. If you will review the top entry, and even a comment below, it doesn't make a difference if this was a 1 April thing or not. The question about "drive-through confession" is still a good question, especially given some other developments we have seen in modern times.]

    Satire and sarcasm are much more a part of English/Aussie humour.

    At the same time, Fr Bob McGuire is a notorious headliner for all the wrong reasons, here in my city of Melbourne, and I just wish he would go to the retirement home for priests, and shut up, whether he is trying to humorous, or serious.

  47. To all those who object to drive through confessions, I hope you are equally opposed to the current practice (prevalent in over 98% of parishes in the Western world) of what amounts to Drive through Communion. I expect you to go to your pastors and demand the restoration of the Communion Rail. But do it NICELY, and give good reasons – those you outline here for your objection to drive-through confessions!

  48. Andrew says:

    Sorry, Fr Z

    I overlooked that you did mention that this could be an April I thing, but that is not the point you were trying to make, as it was a good question to consider. Agreed.

    However, just remember I live in the very city where the much hallowed Fr Bob McGuire resides, and it seems to me he has enough notoriety for all the wrong reasons. It annoys me that something that was meant to be a joke, you have taken the trouble to critique, as though it WAS serious, albeit that it is a good question to consider, in the light of the dignity of confession, being one of the seven sacraments.

    I am just so tired of this man, and the fact that whenever the local media here needs a comment on a Catholic subject, he is the font of all wisdom. It would be great if somebody like yourself, had a regular spot on Fox News, or some other media outlet in your area, as at least we would get something that makes some sense, for a change.

    You could say I am all McGuired out, and seeing him on WDPTRS, was the last straw for me.

  49. Andrew: Years ago I had a sardonic post about using laptops as altar missals. Not long ago, there was more serious discussion of using iPads as an altar missal. You can’t make stuff up fast enough. Thus, even though it was an April Fool’s thing, talking about “drive through” confession is not outside the pale.

  50. hungry_papist says:

    I thought it could be a good idea, provided the penitent and priest both take it seriously, and have the opportunity to actually speak to each other, face-to face or through a screen. Any sort of technological device helping jog the memory of the penitent could be very helpful. The means of transportation (or location of one’s seat) shouldn’t have an effect on the form of the sacrament.

    HOWEVER, after reading this comment from dmwallace, I realized that it would probably be illicit, making me regret my vote of “yes”.

    Can. 964 §1. The proper place to hear sacramental confessions is a church or oratory.

    §2. The conference of bishops is to establish norms regarding the confessional; it is to take care, however, that there are always confessionals with a fixed grate between the penitent and the confessor in an open place so that the faithful who wish to can use them freely.

    §3. Confessions are not to be heard outside a confessional without a just cause.