Penitent needs to be physically present for confession, says prelate

Published May 21, 2021, 5:36 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

A priest may hear confession using a mobile phone but the penitent must be physically present, according to a Catholic prelate.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David (CBCP News)

“As long as the penitent is physically present, even from a safe distance (without a divider), you can hear his /her confession through your phone. This way you are only using your phones as speakers,” Caloocan Bishop Pablo David said in a Facebook post Friday, May 21.

“This is a valid sacrament of reconciliation,” he added.

This was David’s recommendation to his priests for individual confessions during this coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

David said for confession, priests may find or build a place with a separating clear glass divider (floor to ceiling is better).

“Sit on the opposite side of the clear glass divider while penitent is sitting on the other side,” he said.

“Use a cell phone with a parish SIM card and give the number to the penitent,” added David.

“Allow the penitent to call you from the other side of the glass divider and start making a confession,” he said.

The Caloocan prelate reminded priests not to put cell phone on loudspeaker so as to ensure that the seal of confession is not compromised.

Confession is a sacrament, wherein one states his/her sins before a priest in a bid to seek forgiveness from God.