I received this email.
First, let me say… GO TO CONFESSION! That means PRIESTS too!
Next, use my tips for making a good confession. HERE
Now… I received this email.
Good afternoon, Father.
In the middle of a recent confession, something I said must have triggered the ever-listening Amazon app on the priest’s phone, and Alexa suddenly blurted out, “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that.”
This set me to speculating over the possibility of surveillance through our cell phones. Just think of how many apps we happily grant access to our microphones (including the CCP-beholden TikTok)–I fear a scenario wherein a well-intentioned person can inadvertently undermine the privacy of the confessional through lack of vigilance.
In the past, you have (rightfully) criticized efforts to introduce long-distance phone confession/absolution as a serious threat to privacy. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to consider this angle as well. [It is not only a threat to privacy but the absolution would be INVALID. Absolution cannot be given at a distance over a phone or by ham radio, etc.]
I hesitate to bring this up anywhere because I would hate to discourage anxious penitents or for people to start hounding their priests about it, but might it be prudent for Church leaders to discuss the possible consequences modern technology has for confession privacy and issue guidance for priests, if they haven’t already?
Fathers… is it necessary to take your phone into the confessional? Really?
Lay people… is it necessary to take your phone into the confessional? Really?
Bottom line. It is probably a very bad idea to take your phone into the confessional.
Lastly, Fathers, if you are parish priests, pastors, and you aren’t providing adequate times for people to go confession, and if you are not teaching about confession, you should consider the Four Last Things, and in particular Hell.