One of the questions that I continue to consider as Pastor of Resurrection Online is how the sacraments are made available to those that worship online. I recently ran across one take on this subject from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Visit http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/699.shtml and scroll down to find “The Sacraments via Electronic Communication.” I encourage you to read the entire article. Here is an excerpt:
“The Secretariat for the Liturgy has received several inquiries concerning the celebration of the sacraments via various types of electronic communication. The celebration of the Sacrament of Penance via telephone, participation in Mass via television or the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation via video conference have on occasion been proposed. However, electronic communication via telephone, television, video conference or internet is not sufficient for the celebration of the sacraments. The celebration of the sacraments requires the physical and geographic presence of both the gathered faithful and the bishop, priest, deacon or other presiding minister.”
This is a decision of a particular denomination in a particular location. What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about sacraments via electronic communication?
While listening to a podcast of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! this week, I heard of the true story of a phone confessional that gives you the following options:
- For advice on confessing, press one.
- To confess, press two.
- To listen to some confessions, press three.
As a United Methodist, I believe that confession, both individual and communal, is an important part of our Christian life. However, this just doesn’t make sense to me. I am particularly incredulous at the option to listen to someone else’s confession. Listening to confession without a relationship in community seems like religious voyeurism.
You can read more at: ‘Please leave your confession after the beep': Fury of French bishops over 30p-a-minute phone line for sinning Catholics
In November of last year, I read this post – Was the early church seeker sensitive? and have been thinking it over in my head ever since. Before you read further – check out the post then come back here to read on.
Michael raises an interesting point and one which I have continued to think about. Is it faithful or effective to have separate worship experiences or worship elements for non religious persons and Christian persons?
At Resurrection central campus, we have five services with the same teaching content at each service – people come at the beginning and leave near the end (sometimes just after the sermon…) There is no distinction in service times between those who are non and nominally religious and those who are in the middle of the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian. Willow and Granger have separate service times for different communities. Stonewall Wesleyan Church has a distinct worship schedule based on different worship style and elements.
I believe that communion is a means of grace and should be available to all. What about other elements of a worship service? Other worship times? Do you think that it is faithful or effective to have separate worship experiences or worship elements for non religious persons and Christian persons?