Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Catholic World News News Feature

Australian priest "hears confessions" on call-in radio February 04, 2005

A controversial Australian priest "heard confessions" on a call-in radio show on Sunday night.

The Melbourne Herald-Sun reported that during an appearance on a youth talk show, Father Bob Maguire agreed to hear the confessions of callers. Three listeners did call in, confessing their sins on the air, and received a token penance from the priest, the newspaper reported.

The vicar general of the Melbourne archdiocese, Msgr. Les Tomlinson, told the Herald-Sun that the radio conversations were not sacramental confessions, because Father Maguire did not use the required words of absolution. He also pointed out that the Church does not allow confession by radio or telephone. Thus the sins of the call-in penitents were not forgiven.

However, Msgr. Tomlinson observed that hearing confessions over the radio violates the Church's norms requiring priests to preserve the secrecy of the penitents. Violations of the confessional seal can bring severe punishment, including excommunication. It was not clear whether Father Maguire could be subject to such disciplinary action, since he was not hearing real confessions. However, making a mockery of the sacraments can also bring severe punishment.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16
Russia's demographic recovery + US demographic decline = danger April 16
James Carroll strikes (at the Church) again April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days