Net confessions fail to get Vatican blessing

Evangelisation yes

The Roman Catholic Church has ruled out the forgiving of sins online.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communication will shortly issue a document stating that believers can only confess in person and to priests - not to servers, according to a senior Vatican official, Reuters reports.

Archbishop John Foley, the president of the special council, told reporters that "the Internet is a wonderful instrument for evangelisation and pastoral service, but it will never be possible to confess online".

After earlier decrying the Internet as a pernicious influence the Catholic Church has come to (at least partially) embrace the online world and there's even talk of creating a patron saint of the Internet.

Delivering sacraments to surfers, however, is seen as a step too far... ®

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