Pope bans confessions on phone, Web

The Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenuda III, that is. "Phoning it in" is, of course, slang for doing something halfway. According to an AFP news-service dispatch, the pope decided the faithful shouldn't be phoning it in when it comes to penance. His objection was based on privacy grounds:

CAIRO (AFP) Egypt's Coptic pope has banned the faithful from confessing their sins to priests over the telephone because intelligence agents might be listening in, a newspaper reported on Friday."Confessions over the telephone are forbidden, because there is a chance the telephones are monitored and the confessions will reach state security," the independent Al-Masri Al-Yom quoted Pope Shenuda III as saying.The leader of the Coptic minority also said confessions over the Internet were invalid because they might be read by websurfers.

Paul Moses, a contributing writer at Commonweal, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @PaulBMoses. 

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