"Virtual" Sacraments Ruled Out

LIMA, Peru, MARCH 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Virtual tours might be possible on Internet. But not the sacraments.

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In the wake of faulty television reports, the Peruvian bishops’ conference published a press note explaining, «There are no sacraments on the Internet.»

The document clarified that «to receive the sacrament of confession, in addition to the conditions and requirements inherent in the sacrament, the physical presence of the faithful and the manifestation of his faults to the priest in person is indispensable.»

«In no case, is the integral accusation of grave sins or the absolution of a priest at a distance considered valid by the Catholic Church,» added the episcopate’s document.

«Virtual reality is no substitute for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacramental reality of the other sacraments, and shared worship in a flesh-and-blood human community,» affirmed the statement.

It cited the 2002 document «The Church and Internet,» published by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

The bishops’ statement added: «There are no sacraments on the Internet; and even the religious experiences possible there by the grace of God are insufficient apart from real-world interaction with other persons of faith.»

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