The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“For advice on confessions, press one…”

It was only a matter of time until someone came up with this nutty idea — and wouldn’t you know, it comes to us from, of all places, France:

pg-32-confession-li_332146s.jpgA premium rate phone line in France is offering Catholics the chance to confess their sins, for 34c (31p) a minute plus connection charge. But French bishops are attempting to disconnect Le Fil du Seigneur – or Line to the Lord – which was launched at the beginning of Lent.


The softly spoken male voice on the line offers touch-tone options: “For advice on confessing, press one. To listen to some confessions, press three,” before warning, “In case of serious or mortal sins – that is, sins that have cut you off from Christ our Lord – it is indispensable to confide in a priest.”

The telephone service is the brainchild of Camille Hautier, a self-declared Catholic. She said the Line to the Lord does not offer absolution for sins, which only a priest can provide. “The idea is to confess sins which are not capital sins, but minor sins, directly to God,” she said.

Whether God is at the end of the line may be a matter of faith, but callers certainly don’t get the option of talking to a person. Instead they are offered an “atmosphere of piety and reflection” where they can listen to prayers and music.


Some 300 people have called the hotline in its first week – although whether to confess their own sins or just to listen in to other people’s transgressions is not clear.

The country’s bishops were at pains to stress that the line had “no approval from the Catholic Church in France”.

There’s more at the link.

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posted March 3, 2010 at 9:39 am

Interesting, the bishops are worried about church rules and cannon law. The person setting up the phone line directs people to go to confession and does it in a truly novel way. She may be odd, but at least she is getting the Gospel and the church out there in the world while the bishop fret about how odd her activity is.
Let’s watch and see what kind of fruit this bears.

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ronald knox

posted March 3, 2010 at 10:07 am

The Rite of the Sacrament of Penance has changed several times during its history. First it was a once in a lifetime opportunity at Baptism. Later the Church allowed for repentance but it was a long process that included public confession of sins and public penance and exclusion from communion for years; the penalties were harsh. Later the Irish monks introduced private auricular confession, first to other monks and later to lay people. The rite could change again, perhaps to general absolution during mass or other form. As for electronic media, perhaps… but that would take a long time.

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Mary McKinley

posted March 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm

What exactly was the purpose of that intro: “wouldn’t you know, it comes to us from, of all places, France”? I live in France and we have about the same variety of Catholics and Masses as the US has, from progressive to Traditional Latin pre-Vatican II.

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted March 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Mary …
France is “the eldest daughter of the Church.” I find it ironic.
Dcn. G.

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