I've heard a question asked recently whether or not Confession by telephone or Internet is permitted. The answer is of course no. As we see in the Gospels, it is about a personal encounter with Jesus Christ that matters. In Confession we not only confess our sins but we humble ourselves by kneeling down and begging for mercy. The Prodigal Son did not call from across the field: "Forgive me." Rather, the Gospel says, the Son got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him (Luke 15:20).
In Confession Jesus Christ runs back to us and pours grace into our souls. It is this personal encounter that matters.
The Catholic Church has also condemned Confession through the Internet:
The Pontifical Council on Social Communications on the Church and the Internet published a document in 2002 that states, “virtual reality cannot substitute for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, nor the sacramental reality of the other sacraments, nor the worship shared in a human community of flesh and bones....Sacraments on the internet do not exist....Even religious experiences that are possible there through the grace of God are insufficient if they are separated from interaction in the real world with other persons of faith.”
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