Washington D.C., Mar 27, 2020 / 16:23 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The chair of the U.S. bishops’ committee on liturgy wrote to U.S. bishops Friday, to clarify issues related to the sacraments of penance and anointing of the sick which have arisen during the Church’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“With regard to Penance, it is clear that the Sacrament is not to be celebrated via cell phone,” Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford wrote in a March 27 memo to U.S. bishops.
“In addition, in the present circumstances cell phones should not be used even for the amplification of voices between a confessor and penitent who are in visual range of each other. Current threats against the seal of confession also raise questions about information on cell phones,” Blair added.
“With regard to the Anointing of the Sick, it is not possible for the anointing with oil to be delegated to someone else, such as a nurse or doctor.
Blair explained to bishops that questions about those matters had been referred to the papal representative in the U.S., apostolic nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The nuncio consulted with Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, who returned with the answers supplied by Blair to the bishops, according to the memo.