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Vatican rules out confessions in cyberspace

The Holy See's Apostolic Penitentiary has instructed bishops not to use email and fax to consult on matters covered by the seal of the confessional.

The Vatican has previously commended the use of the Internet as a tool for evangelisation, but the Apostolic Penitentiary is worried that sensitive communications may be intercepted by hackers.

The office send a note to episcopates around the world, explaining that the use of electronic means to address questions covered by the secrecy of the sacrament "might degenerate in the violation of the very constitutive and inherent elements of the sacrament of penance."

The note appeals to bishops and religious major superiors to give opportune instructions to priests so that they will "absolutely exclude" technological means.


No confessions in cyberspace, Vatican says (Edmonton Journal)
What would Jesus surf? (Wired 1/3/02)
Apostolic Penitentiary
Pontifical Council for Social Communications | The Church and the Internet | Ethics in Internet
Absolution Online (not endorsed by Church)

13 Jan 2003