AMERICA/PERU - Confessions via the Internet are not valid, the indispensable requisite for the celebration of a Sacrament, including the sacrament of Reconciliation, is the physical presence of the believer and the minister: Peruvian Bishops warn the faithful about “cyberspace confessions”

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

Lima (Fides Service) - Faced with a growing misinformation with regard to the possibility of celebrating the Sacrament of Penance via the Internet “cyberspace confessions”, in conformity with the Code of Canon Law (cfr. CIC, canon 964 - §1), the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Peru has stated that “to receive the Sacrament of Confession, besides the conditions and disposition inherent for the reception of the sacrament, the physical presence of the penitent and personal confession of sins to a priest in person is indispensable”. Therefore “confession of serious sins and absolution by a priest at a distance, are never valid for the Catholic Church”.
The Church in Peru ends the short statement quoting the “Church and the Internet” document published by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in 2002: “Virtual reality is no substitute for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacramental reality of the other sacraments, and shared worship in a flesh-and-blood human community. There are no sacraments on the Internet; and even the religious experiences possible there by the grace of God are insufficient apart from real-world interaction with other persons of faith” (cfr n.9). (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 22/3/2005; righe 15; parole 204)