Whom might I contact to have my confession heard by e-mail or snail-mail?
The idea of confessions being heard at a distance was raised early in this century because of invention of the telephone. Although communications technologies have evolved, the Church has had some time to consider the nature of your question and its implications.
When we go to the Gospels and watch Jesus at work ministering to people, we notice that in his ministry of the forgiveness of personal sins, Jesus was always physically present to that person: up close and personal, we might say. Read for example Mark 2,1-12 or John 8,1-11. When we remember that every Sacrament is a personal encounter with the Lord in and through the person of the minister, that ministerial-person must be very present to us, "right next to us", so to speak. This cannot be done on the phone or by email. And since each Sacrament is also an action of the Church, the minister (in this case, the priest) is that personal presence of the Church to us. That important personal ecclesial dimension would be missing on the phone or in email. Confession, mid-20th century. Many churches today have small chapels where people can meet face to face, if they wish, with the confessor, or from behind a screen.
There is also reasonable concern about the security and thus the privacy of confessions heard outside the reconciliation chapel or confessional. Confession by telephone, snail-mail or email presents a real danger that confessional secrecy could be compromised.
You might find it helpful to explore with a priest what makes it either difficult or impossible for you to seek the Sacrament in a parish or retreat house setting.
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