My youth minister has been offering “S.P.Y.S Points” (basically, points that add up to a discount for events like NCYC and Steubenville Conferences) if we go to Confession and take a “selfie” with our confessor. First of all, would getting paid to go to Confession risk invalidating it? I guess she’s using it as motivation to get the teens to receive the wonderful sacrament. Would being motivated by money only risk creating insufficient contrition? Also, does taking a selfie with your confessor at least indirectly violate the Seal? The priest would be tacitly admitting that he went to Confession with you, and I know there are forbidden to even acknowledge that they heard your Confession. Apparently our pastor has approved of this. What should I do?
Getting paid to go to confession wouldn’t invalidate the sacrament in and of itself, but it’s certainly odd and distasteful, sort of a reverse-simony.
The taking a “selfie” with one’s confessor might seem cute, but it is a serious breach of the confidentiality (let alone the sacredness) that should denote the sacrament. It would not necessarily be a violation of the Seal, but it’s close enough that a sensible priest would refuse to have any part of it.
This should be passed on a bit higher up the ecclesiastical food chain. A gently worded letter to the bishop or vicar general with a “Is this really okay?” tone to it is warranted.
Meanwhile, everyone… don’t let people doing dopey things discourage you.
GO TO CONFESSION!
And, as is often the case these days, the moderation queue is ON.