My daughter came home from confession last night and said Fr. M was using his Ipad during her confession. She was behind the wall/grate but you can easily see through it. She also heard him whispering while he was surfing. She was very confused and surprised and said although he seemed totally distracted while she made her confession he did seem to have heard her because he offered her suggestions. When he came into church he did state to the line that he had RCIA soon and she supposed he might have been preparing for that. Regardless, this is very disturbing to me. How should I address it?
I refer you back to posts I have written about the use of smart phones and other gadgets in Church. As life changes and is changed by these devices, people will get used to seeing them being used in all sorts of places.
Father probably wasn’t “surfing”. More and more, priests are using their phones and iPads and the like for the recitation of their Office, in the newer form called the Liturgy of the Hours and, in the older form, the Roman Breviary. Furthermore, because the recitation of the Office is vocal prayer, many priests will say it very quietly to themselves, almost like a whisper.
Most priests use time in the confessional to say their Office.
That said, Father should stop with the Office while the penitent is there. When Father uses a book (few of which emit light) you wouldn’t notice that he had his book open. Now that these reading things emit light they are more visible. Just because they are visible, doesn’t mean that he isn’t paying attention to you. Still… yes… I know. It doesn’t fill you with confidence.
Though… you might feel differently were he reciting his Rosary or prayers for the penitent. Yes, we do that sometimes.
So, I would a) not worry about this very much and/or b) if you see this yourself, then you might say something to him. Right now, you have on hearsay what Father was doing.
Finally, if Father was preparing for RCIA you might keep in mind that he, like you, has only 36 hours in every days and he, like you, has probably only mastered bi-location rather than tri-location.
So, Fathers, be careful with those things in the confessional. Don’t give people a reason to be worried about anything.