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'Drive-in confessional' revealed as April Fool's joke

April 01, 2011

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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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  • Posted by: Gil125 - Apr. 02, 2011 4:37 PM ET USA

    Somehow it doesn't seem from what evidence is at hand that this reverend father takes his position in persona Christi very seriously.