'Drive-in confessional' revealed as April Fool's joke
April 01, 2011
An Australian priest whose announcement of a “drive-in confessional” had earned heavy media coverage has revealed that the story was an April-Fools-day hoax.
The Herald Sun had prominently featured a report that Father Bob McGuire was setting up a confessional that would allow penitents to confess by selecting sins from an electronic menu. “A flashing green light will signal when a driver's sins have been forgiven,” the story said. It was not clear that the Herald Sun initially recognized the story as a hoax, but a later version of the report added the news that “the event was an April Fool’s stunt.”
Father McGuire (whose name was misspelled in a Herald Sun headline) has frequently drawn public attention with his outspoken comments on Catholic affairs, often clashing with official Church teaching. In 2005 he “heard confessions” on a call-in radio show. Those confessions were not valid, because they were not made in person and because Father McGuire did not say the required words of absolution. But the prank drew a rebuke because an on-air confession, even an invalid one, violates the Church’s norms regarding the absolute secrecy of the confessional.
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- Father Bob Maguire admits drive-in confession is April Fool's joke (Herald Sun)
- Australian priest "hears confessions" on call-in radio (CWN 2/4/05)
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