Seen on the Web: Promote the Sacrament of Reconciliation by serving beverages and snacks…

Seen on the Web: Promote the Sacrament of Reconciliation by serving beverages and snacks.

Editor’s note: It wasn’t clear whether refreshments would be served to those waiting in line, in the confessional, or later, after doing penance. But, consider the possibilities!

What Pope Francis forgot to tell you: Before exiting the confessional, make sure you’ve been properly absolved of your sins

confessionforget

“Father, I’m waiting for absolution.”

“Oh. Okay. Jesus forgives you. Go in peace.”

“Would you please give me absolution Father?”

“I just did.”

“No. I’m sorry you didn’t. Maybe I’m being a bit fussy Father, but I really would like to hear you say the words of absolution.”

“Okay, if you insist, Go in peace and be forgiven.”

“I’m sorry Father, but those weren’t the words of absolution.”

He’s annoyed with me now. “Well what do you want me to say?”

“You could say the full words from the rite, but if you want you could just say, ‘I absolve you from your sins.”

Now much annoyed he said, “I absolve you of your sins.”

Has this happened to you? I’m curious because some friends of mine say the same thing happens to them. They are given a great long piece of advice which they don’t’ really want because they have a spiritual director for that, but then the priest doesn’t give them absolution.

Read more

Editor’s note: Catholics who rarely go to confession are unlikely to even know about such sloppy practices. Even good, thorough, well-intentioned priests may get a bit “loopy” after hearing an hour or two of confessions.

Know the words of absolution and before you leave the confessional, make sure you hear the priest say them:

“I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” 

A Guide to the Sacrament of Penance

In Another Groundbreaking Act, Pope Francis Confesses His Sins in Public

Pope Francis continued his rock star turn yesterday by breaking with tradition and publicly confessing his sins while leading a penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The pope, dressed in a simple white alb and purple stole, spent about three minutes kneeling before the priest’s open confessional and received absolution.

Link

Editor’s note: There’s nothing “groundbreaking” about a Catholic going to Confession – especially during Lent.

Priest recommends dangerous practice of making a written list of one’s sins, prior to confession.

confessionlist

by Doug Lawrence

In a recent article, 10 Tips on How to Confess Well Fr. Ed Broom offers a number of useful tips for making a good confession – but one of the suggestions is dangerous, because it can easily lead to a violation of the “seal” of absolute confidentiality of the sacrament of reconciliation – and cause a host of other, totally unnecessary problems, as well.

According to the article, it is suggested that we should “Write down the sins so that you will not forget them once in the confessional!”

Let’s consider all the things that might happen to a written list of sins from the night before, when a complete examination of conscience might have been done – through the actual confession – and afterwards.

Unless you happen to be a hermit, living on a mountain top, or in a cave, and the priest is coming to you – and your list of sins will be dropped into a fire and be instantly destroyed – you run a substantial risk of someone – anyone – happening across your list – learning all the details of your particular sins – and violating one of the most important aspects of the sacrament.

Understanding that the seal of the confessional is binding not only on the priest, but also on any other Catholic who might inadvertently learn of your sins – by whatever means –  it’s clear that putting such things down in writing is often dangerous – and generally foolish.

If the list was misplaced or somehow misappropriated – intentionally or otherwise – and the information was subsequently disseminated to others – a number of very negative consequences might result. Here’s just a few of the many possibilities. (If you happen to be a politician, a used car salesman, or a bishop, please pay close attention):

The priest might be wrongly accused of violating the seal of the confessional.

Family or friends might come into possession of the list – before or after the confession – and discover certain things that they should not know. (Did you ever leave something in the pocket of your shirt or pants, and it ended up in the wash?)

Business associates and/or others – particularly your enemies – might come into possession of the list – in which case the possibilities for gossip and other mischief – including blackmail – are virtually without limits.

You might get arrested and subsequently carted off to jail. 

Your list might become a near occasion of grave sin – for some yet unknown individual.

You might suddenly begin attract new – and unwanted – friends and followers. 

You may find your personal list of sins “Trending Now” on the World Wide Web/Internet.

The entire parish/neighborhood might soon know all about your innermost thoughts and personal weaknesses.

There is also a very real possibility that your friends, family and others could be caught up in any ensuing scandal.

In the confessional, most priests will ask whether you are truly sorry for “these and all your sins” – and that ought to cover anything you have genuinely forgotten to confess. Should some unconfessed sin come to mind at another time, simply confess it at your earliest convenience. God isn’t looking to trip you up!

In these days of information piracy and other forms of electronic mischief – leading to identity theft and all types of related problems – the last thing you need to do is go around making written lists of all the grave sins you have committed – especially since they might somehow end up on Facebook or Twitter, before you know it.

I suggest you do your best to frequently make a good confession – by memory. Treat such information much as you would your social security number and credit card data – taking steps to make absolutely certain it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Otherwise, you risk very serious, unforeseen  and totally unnecessary consequences – which were never intended to be a part of the sacrament of reconciliation.

Greatest Sin of our Time?

devil 4  memling  the devil

Before explaining what the Greatest Sin of our time is, let me prove that it also comes from the serpent, Lucifer. In 1930 two people wrote plans to destroy America from within and turn it into a communist nation. Lest you have no problem with communism it killed 1,500,000.000 of its own people in 60 years and every nation that adopted it failed financially, where everyone became poor. These two people were Antonio Gramsy and Saul Alinski. Salinski, a friend and teacher of Obama, wrote RULES FOR RADICALS, TOWARDS A SOVIET AMERICA.

In this book he outlined how to take over schools, the news media, the government, and even the history books. He planed to little by little to infiltrate the Churches and degrade the constitution of the USA. His teachers were George Bernard Shaw, Bernard Russal and John Dewy.

Most important is that he dedicated his book to Lucifer, the first radical.

Morality was Alinski greatest enemy and to overcome this he had to get moral teaching out of the school, Churches and even government laws. His idea was to replace moral laws with Lucifer laws of tolerance, non-judgmentalism, and acceptance of all point of views. He even wanted laws against speaking out against any kind of sin. These people infiltrated the schools and churches and led the progressive movement in politics. Progressives believe that the constitution is old fashioned and needs to be re-interpreted to fit the modern world. This plan was so successful that it produced the greatest sin of our age, That our conscience is the God of good or evil.

Read more

Video link

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Dead man sits up and exclaims, “Oh, good, Father. I’ve been waiting for you. I want to go to Confession.”

Read the whole story

An open letter to “ex” Catholics – wherever they might be

by Doug Lawrence

Dear “Ex”,

There’s no such thing as an “ex” Catholic. When you were baptized you became an adopted child of God, a living temple of the Holy Spirit, a citizen of Heaven, co-heir with Jesus Christ, and a member of the church.

Your immortal soul received a special, indelible mark, identifying you as one of God’s very own. You also received a number of unique rights and privileges, the most important of which is the right to expect God to freely accept all your prayers and petitions.

None of this was merely temporary, or subject to revocation.

The corruption and hypocrisy of some who lead the church is shameful and scandalous, yet such things should no more keep you from being authentically Catholic than corrupt politicians and congressmen should keep you from being authentically American.

The most important thing at stake is the eternal salvation of your own personal soul, and for that you need to fully and faithfully participate in all of the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church … the only church that Jesus Christ ever founded … for that express purpose.

If you’re old enough and intelligent enough to post opinion pieces on the internet, you’re old enough and intelligent enough to satisfactorily work through adult questions of faith, without merely throwing up your hands and walking away.

In any case, God loves you, and God will provide … but things begin to look much, much better once you take the time to discern your proper place in the whole scheme of things, stand up for God’s honest truth, and begin to properly pursue the high purpose for which you were created.

Of course, none of that really matters if you remain estranged and/or separated from Christ and his church.

There has always been a direct relationship between corruption in the church and the need for authentic, faithful Catholicity. The more corrupt the church evidently appears … the more good, faithful, well informed, mature Catholics are needed … in order to help turn things around.

I suspect the problem you have with the Catholic church is actually rooted some intractable, personal moral issue … and not something that is specific to any of the current public scandals. If that’s true, then you’re in denial and the only real barrier to effective reconciliation is your own personal pride.

When dealing with things of God, its typically left up to us mortals to first apologize and then ask forgiveness. Catholics … including voluntarily separated ones … typically accomplish that by going to confession, after which the subject will necessarily, never be brought up again. I speak from personal experience.

God is good. His Catholic Church is troubled, but still quite capable of saving souls and ministering to all the needs of the faithful, and Jesus Christ specifically set things up that way, just for you. Why not give it one more try?

If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart.

Love,

Doug

Just about everything any Catholic needs to know about the great sacrament that’s still often referred to as “Confession”

Are all of our sins—past, present, and future—forgiven once and for all when we become Christians? Not according to the Bible or the early Church Fathers. Scripture nowhere states that our future sins are forgiven; instead, it teaches us to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12).

The means by which God forgives sins after baptism is confession: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Minor or venial sins can be confessed directly to God, but for grave or mortal sins, which crush the spiritual life out of the soul, God has instituted a different means for obtaining forgiveness—the sacrament known popularly as confession, penance, or reconciliation.

This sacrament is rooted in the mission God gave to Christ in his capacity as the Son of man on earth to go and forgive sins (cf. Matt. 9:6). Thus, the crowds who witnessed this new power “glorified God, who had given such authority to men” (Matt. 9:8; note the plural “men”). After his resurrection, Jesus passed on his mission to forgive sins to his ministers, telling them, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:21–23).

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Submitted by Doria2

A handy guide to examination of conscience for your “Easter Duty” Confessions

[1] I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me. EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE

  • Do I give God time every day in prayer?
  • Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?
  • Have I been involved with superstitious practices or have I been involved with the occult?
  • Do I seek to surrender myself to God’s Word as taught by the Church?
  • Have I ever received Communion in a state of mortal sin?
  • Have I ever deliberately told a lie in confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the priest in confession?

[2] You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

  • Have I used God’s name in vain: lightly or carelessly?
  • Have I been angry with God?
  • Have I wished evil upon another person?
  • Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?

[3] Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

  • Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?
  • Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?
  • Do I do needless work on Sunday?

[4] Honor your Father and your Mother.

  • Do I honor and obey my parents?
  • Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?
  • Have I given my family good religious example?
  • Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
  • Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

Visit the site for the other six … and more

Extraordinarily stupid politicians in Ireland attempting to control the confessional.

From the Irish Catholic comes news that confirms just how far Ireland has fallen from its tradition of being the “land of saints and scholars”:

The Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Children are all indicating that a proposed new law will require priests to break the seal of confession if someone confesses to them the crime of paedophilia.

This would make us the one and only country in the Western world to have such a law. Even Revolutionary France in the days of its worst violence against the Church did not pass a law requiring the breaking of the seal of confession.
The justification for the law is that the crime of paedophilia is so heinous that no one who hears about it, under whatever circumstances, can be allowed to keep it to themselves.

Read more

Submitted by Alice H.

The Father Corapi Affair: Another festering political problem for the Catholic Church.

J E S U S  C H R I S T !!!

The spiritual and moral issues raised in the complaint against Father Corapi (as far as anyone knows) could have been addressed through a simple mediation session coupled with good confessions, all around. Instead, we have another unresolved, festering scandal … and the Church has apparently lost a great educator, inspirational speaker, advocate, priest and entrepreneur.

While Father Corapi has now proved himself to be no St. Padre Pio, this outcome is totally unacceptable and unprofessional. It reflects negatively on all parties involved, as well as the Catholic Church, in general.

We must do better!

Let’s all pray that I am not taking the name of the Lord, in vain.

For those unalterably opposed to confessing sins to a priest

Never go see a doctor for a body ailment, and don’t tell him where it hurts; Just pray to Jesus to heal you, because Jesus can heal much better than any man, and he’s free!

Link

Free labor relations advice for Father Corapi: Negotiate a quick settlement and get on with your business.

Q: How does one typically make a serious problem with a disgruntled ex-employee go away?

A: You have your attorneys promptly negotiate an amicable settlement with all affected parties, typically including withdrawal of any and all statements and/or claims made “in the heat of battle” … groundless or not … plus an ironclad “gag” order … with no admission of fault, on either side … and then, a certain amount of cash changes hands.

Of course, in the Father Corapi case, that would still leave the church investigation to deal with.

For that, a good confession (by all those involved) should suffice.

The Confession

Dad, I’m sorry. I’m afraid I made a mess of things.

I didn’t plan ahead.

I didn’t read the manual.

I used the wrong tools.

I was in a hurry.

I cut corners.

I let my emotions get the best of me.

I though I knew what I was doing.

I bit off more than I could chew.

I did it my way.

I realize now that I can’t fix the mess I made, and I need you.

“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son
has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Why frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance can work miracles.


Romans 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for you are not under the law, but under grace.

Grace is the currency of Heaven … and it’s also the way God enables, empowers, and sanctifies those who love him.

Probably one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the fact that (like all sacraments) it infuses abundant grace into the soul.

How much grace?

For the sake of argument, let’s call it “enough to replace all that had been lost, through sin … plus a little more.”

What does this mean, for Catholics who are seriously pursuing personal holiness, conversion, and ultimate perfection in Jesus Christ?

Every time you make a good confession … no matter how grievously you might have offended God … you leave … absolved of all your sins … but also with (at least) a little more grace in your soul … than you ever had before.

Imagine what would happen,
if every time you went to the bank,
you left with more money in your account
than when you went in!

Scripture informs us that God has always empowered the weak and the infirm in this way:

2Corinthians 12:9  And he said to me:
My grace is sufficient for thee:
for power is made perfect in infirmity.
Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Regularly presenting ourselves before the Lord, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, serves to empower us to overcome any and all of our human infirmities (spiritual weaknesses, and even physical illnesses) through the sufficiency of God’s abundant grace.

Accepting this fact and acting on it (in humility and faith) not only keeps the forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil under control … but it is a sure and certain way to please God … since it also keeps us perfectly centered in his will … and his plan.

It doesn’t get any better than that, this side of Heaven!

Based on all of this, how often should a Catholic go to confession? Probably a lot more often than we do!

Related article

The Catholic priest and confession

Just as he does at the altar where he celebrates the Eucharist and at each one of the sacraments the priest, as the minister of penance, works “in persona Christi”.

The Christ whom he gives and makes present, and who by means of his ministry effects the remission of sins is with the priest, who appears as a brother of man, a merciful bridge-builder, faithful and compassionate pastor dedicated to search for the lost sheep, the doctor who heals and comforts, the one teacher who teaches the truth and teaches the ways of God, who judges the living and the dead and judges according to the truth and not according to appearances.

Read more from Pope John Paul II

This week’s Ask Alice: Catholic Church teachings on homosexuals attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion. (Or anybody, for that matter.)


Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

John Asks: What does the Catholic Church teach about an active gay/homosexual attending Catholic Mass and receiving Holy Communion?

Alice replies: The Catholic Church welcomes all properly disposed gay and lesbian persons to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion. The exact same policy applies to heterosexual persons, as well.

The rules regarding the reception of the Holy Communion are the same for all Catholics, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.

That Holy Communion may be received not only validly, but also fruitfully, certain dispositions … both of body and of soul … are required:

For the former, a person must have fasted for at least one hour, from everything in the nature of food or drink. (Water and medicine are permitted, if necessary.)

The principal disposition of soul required is freedom from (at least) mortal sin … and from ecclesiastical censure.

For those in a state of grievous (mortal) sin, confession is necessary.

It is important to note that engaging in sexual relations outside of the sacrament of matrimony is (objectively) a mortal sin.

When a person commits a sexual sin due to weakness or other occasional circumstance, it may be ordinarily confessed and routinely absolved through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Conversely, sexually active couples who are permanently living together (without benefit of marriage) MAY NOT typically receive sacramental absolution, since as long as their present living circumstances prevail, there would be no real prospect of repentance (turning away from the sin) … something which is always necessary for a good confession.

While heterosexual couples can always get married in order to eliminate this particular problem, such permanent living arrangements will … for homosexuals … always remain mortally perilous to the soul.

For homosexuals, one significant part of the solution is to avoid cohabitation, always maintaining one’s very own, private residence. This would, at least in theory, make possible a good, sacramental confession.

See “A Last Chance for Lost Souls”

“God shows personal favor to no one.” (Galatians 2:6) And God commands us to love one another. Often, my homosexual friends have shared their joys and sorrows. Here are some tips, based on the lessons I’ve learned.

TIPS FOR LOVING ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN

1) DON’T ASSUME. If two male or two female friends are living together or spend every day together, don’t assume that they are engaging in sexual activity. No one except God knows what goes on behind closed doors.

2) DON’T BE A COMMUNION COP. Even if our friend is engaged in homosexual behavior, only God knows the true state of his soul. (Unless perhaps, he is a public advocate, loudly proclaiming, promoting, and/or lobbying for his particular brand of sexual perversion.)

3) DO SPEAK THE TRUTH. If our friend asks us what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality, we must tell him the facts honestly and compassionately.

4) DO LOVE EVERY PERSON UNCONDITIONALLY! The best way to help our homosexual brothers and lesbian sisters get to Heaven is by being faithful, loving friends to them.

5) LEAVE THE JUDGING TO GOD! “The Lord does not look at the things men look at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Additional comments by Doug Lawrence: Catholics are under no obligation to “knuckle under” to the ill-considered, unholy demands of militant, openly homosexual persons or groups. We are called to resist them.

Nor are Catholics permitted to act in opposition to authentic Catholic Church teachings in regard to homosexuality, which is a seriously disordered practice that has always been defined as gravely sinful and contrary to the natural law.

We are reminded however, to scrupulously avoid any type of unjust discrimination.

In this general context, two provisions of Catholic Canon Law are worthy of note:

Canon 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Canon 916 Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession, unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon as possible.

For all the reasons stated above, as well as many others … no matter what the government may decide … the practice of homosexuality will always remain morally wrong, and (objectively) gravely sinful.

The support and/or promotion of certain types of “gay rights” … particularly, any form of homosexual marriage … is never permissible … since that type of arrangement would typically prove deadly to the souls of all who might be involved.

The greatest acts of charity we Catholics can perform … for all our brothers and sisters … is to pray for them, treat them with respect, stand firmly on God’s truth, proclaim that truth with love, and be there for them, in their time of need.

This Week’s Ask Alice: Praying for the Dead, More About the Sacrament of Reconciliation, What Constitutes A Shrine.

Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Joan Writes: Where are references to praying for the dead in the Bible? And how can I refute my son when he says prayers for the dead are ridiculous because they are already dead and you can’t help them after they are dead.

Alice Answers: Aren’t children experts at challenging our patience and faith? With three kids of my own and 28 years of catechizing other people’s children, your son’s question is a common one.

The earliest Bible reference that states the doctrine of praying for the dead is found in the Old Testament. When the Israelite leader, Judas Maccabeus, and his army gathered up bodies of the slain for burial they found amulets to the idol, Jamnia, under the tunics of the deceased. Since Jews were forbidden, by law, from wearing pagan charms, Judas and his men prayed for the dead that their sinful deed might be forgiven.

“He then took up a collection among his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this hea acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if her were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward which awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.” (2 Maccabees 12:43-46)

I hope this helps you explain to your son, the ministry of praying for the dead.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Here’s a couple of pages of related scripture references

A recent article on Purgatory and praying for the dead

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Mike Asks: Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest? The shortest, sweetest answer possible is preferred.

Alice Answers: We must confess our sins to a priest because Jesus Himself instituted the Sacrament of Penance when He gave His apostles the power to forgive sins. “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20: 22-23)

The sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation since it provides forgiveness from all the sins we have commited since Baptism. It sometimes is called “laborious baptism.” The sacrament of Penance reconciles us with God and the Church, which by our sins, we have wounded.

Baptism and Penance are sacraments of exorcism. Penance is more powerful than the rite of exorcism. Penitents obtain pardon for their sins. The rite of exorcism is a sacramental, calling on the name of God to restrain the activity of the devil.

May God bless you abundantly for bringing Christ’s love to our incarcerated brothers and sisters!

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Some “deep” background and additional scripture references

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Daria Asks: Do you know what is involved in something being made a “shrine”?

Alice Answers: A shrine is a sacred place where pilgrims come to pray and worship. As Catholics, we are invited to become part of the great pilgrimage that Christ and His Church have made and continue to make throughout history. A shrine is the goal of that pilgrimage, the goal of the pilgrim’s journey.

A precedent for shrine building can be found in Genesis (35:1) “God said to Jacob, ‘Go up now to Bethel. Settle there and build an altar there to the God who appeared to you while you were fleeing from your brother Esau.’ ”

A Catholic church becomes a shrine under the guidance of the local ordinary (bishop). A national shrine must receive approval from the whole episcopal conference. An international shrine must be designated by Papal (Holy See) approval. Catholic shrines include historical sites associated with Jesus, the Virgin Mary, a particular saint, or a sacred charism, such as the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. A shrine can contain relics related to Christ or a saint and be the site of visions, miracles, or miraculous statues.

A shrine is not a parish. It must be a self-sustaining, free-standing church. The rector is the administrator of a shrine. It is open to the public. The ministry of a shrine is to inspie both locals and travelers to become pilgrims for a day or even an hour. Mass, reconciliation, and special devotions are held at a shrine.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Get in … Confess … Get absolved … Get Out. See a spiritual director some other time.

Father Z shares some tips for going to confession (courteously and efficiently).

Link

Good advice … no matter where you live!

CAIRO: The head of Egypt’s Coptic church has urged his congregation to refrain from confessing their sins over the phone, which could be tapped by the security services, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

“Beware not to admit your sins over the telephone because all phone conversations are recorded by the state security services,” Pope Shenuda III was quoted as saying by the independent Al-Masri Al-Yawm paper.

“Otherwise you will have to go seek absolution in prison, from the police, rather than from your local priest,” the cleric told worshippers during a sermon in Alexandria on Sunday, according to the report.

According to the paper, Shenuda III was referring to Copts who are travelling abroad and those who have relocated to new addresses who often use the telephone to maintain contact with their local parish priest.

Two years ago the head of the Coptic church had warned that a confession made on the Internet is not valid “because everyone can see it and it is no longer secret.”

Link