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Peruvian bishop rescinds permission for confession by phone

Bishop Reinhold Nann of the Diocese of Caravell, Peru said that priests of his diocese could hear sacramental confessions by telephone, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and obligatory social isolation in Peru. Nann added, no public Masses or religious services could take place in his diocese. A few days later, however, the bishop announced that the possibility of confessions by telephone “is annulled” in light of Vatican guidance on the subject of confession issued earlier the same day.


A Peruvian bishop has rescinded permission for priests of his diocese to hear confessions by telephone, just five days after authorizing them to do so.

Earlier this week, Fr. James Bradley, an assistant professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America, criticized the idea that confession could be offered through the telephone.

“The nature of confession, like all the sacraments, involves a personal and ecclesial encounter with Jesus Christ, who is the Word made Flesh. A virtual reality can never replace the reality of the incarnation.”

We can deepen our faith through watching a livestream of Mass, but we all know: it’s not the same as being physically present,” Bradley told CNA. The canon lawyer also noted secondary concerns which should be considered when discussing new or adapted forms of sacramental ministry.

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