On Fakebook I saw:
Now I read this at Stream:
I Went to Confession. Was Asked to Give My Name for Contact Tracing. I Refused. You Wouldn’t Believe the Grief I’ve Gotten
By JENNIFER HARTLINE
“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” — St. Augustine
I had an unsettling experience this weekend when I attempted to go to Confession at a local church. I described it in a short Facebook post because I believe it is important that we realize what’s happening, or what likely will happen in parishes around the country.
Briefly, here’s what happened. Waiting at the open church door was a masked woman holding a clipboard. She said hello and asked for my full name. I replied that I only wanted to go to Confession. She said that she was required to get my full name and contact information for tracing purposes. [“Hi! My name is Karen, and I’m only following orders!”]
I made the decision not to go inside, and I quietly turned around and left. I do not believe it is right nor necessary to require a penitent to give his/her name and contact info in order to go to Confession, and I will not do it. I have exactly zero confidence that all this contact tracing will not be used and abused by the State to take greater control and to further erode religious liberty in our country — not to mention every other form of liberty. (I’m also uncertain how this squares with canon law regarding anonymity in Confession, but I did not raise that issue in my post.) [More on that, below.]
I did not expect everyone to agree with my takeaway on the situation. There’s plenty of room for differing opinions. There are valid points to be made on many sides.
I was stunned at the heat and viciousness of the responses I got.
Complete strangers came out with their verbal knives to get some blood. I was called a total liar by one man who insisted I’d made the entire incident up out of thin air. I lost count of how many people called me selfishly indifferent to the health of others; pridefully obsessed with my own rights; lacking in even an iota of charity for my neighbor and thus, a hypocrite and a terrible Christian; and a dangerous Catholic for “misrepresenting the faith and the rules about the sacraments.”
I was inciting “rotten fruit” with my public “tantrum” and refusing the grace of God because it didn’t come on my terms.
More than a few folks flat out accused me of idolatry. Yes, it seems I idolize my freedom and privacy above all else. Mine is a “spirit of insubordination” and my values “have nothing to do with faith.”
One woman decided it was her place to chastise me that when I finally make it to Confession, I should confess my “massive and selfish indifference to the health and safety of others” and then added, “If you can’t be bothered to make minor sacrifices for the lives of others — ask yourself, is it sloth, greed or gluttony you need to confess?”
Remember, these responses came from other Christians, all in the name of charity.
The combination of anonymity, safety with distance, and that unbeatable combination of ignorance and arrogance that makes libs – yes, and some conservatives, too (but mostly libs) – so amazing.
The writer is right about Canon Law and the violation of her anonymity.
I assume that this policy, implemented by the priest, the confessor, would violate can.964 §2, which is as much about anonymity as it is about protecting the priest from false accusations:
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.
This canon is as much about protecting the anonymity of the penitent as well as protecting the confessor from false accusations.
The pastor is responsible for that parish. He must ensure the proper administration of the sacraments. Proper administration of the Sacrament of Penance also involves providing for anonymous confessions.
This raises questions, therefore, also for 24/7 security cameras that might be in a church and which would also cover the line of penitents and the entrance to the confessional.
In any event, friends,…
GO TO CONFESSION!