Tuesday, March 31, 2020

USCCB: No Cell Phones for Confession, no Delegation of Sacramental Anointing

Validly ordained priests remain the ordinary ministers of the sacraments, to include penance and anointing of the sick or last rights. These sacraments may not be simulated and must be administered in person, with priest and penitent or the sick or dying person physically present to each other.

This is based on the Incarnation, our Lord Himself the source of our sacraments, the truth that Jesus Christ is God made flesh, God made man, in the sacraments; our connection with his incarnational grace and salvation.

The bishops‘ conference reiterated this in a recent press release:

“WASHINGTON, D.C. — The chair of the U.S. bishops’ committee on liturgy wrote to U.S. bishops Friday, to clarify issues related to the sacraments of penance and anointing of the sick which have arisen during the Church’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“With regard to Penance, it is clear that the Sacrament is not to be celebrated via cell phone,” Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford wrote in a March 27 memo to U.S. bishops.

“In addition, in the present circumstances cell phones should not be used even for the amplification of voices between a confessor and penitent who are in visual range of each other. Current threats against the seal of confession also raise questions about information on cell phones,” Archbishop Blair added.

“With regard to the Anointing of the Sick, it is not possible for the anointing with oil to be delegated to someone else, such as a nurse or doctor.

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