The Catholic Cathedral in Seoul guarantees the faithful access to the sacrament of confession even during the Covid-19 pandemic. For this purpose, the Catholic Cathedral of Seoul has equipped confessionals specially adapted to allow to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation in maximum safety, in compliance with anti-Covid measures, for both the priest and the penitent, reported Fides News Agency.
In the Myeongdong Cathedral complex in the heart of Seoul, confessionals were closed in February 2020 due to the pandemic as the virus easily spreads via aerosols in closed spaces. As the Archdiocese has now announced, the Church in Seoul has reorganized the operating procedures and structures relating to confession in compliance with the guidelines for preventing the spread of the coronavirus in compliance with state protocols.
In the new arrangement, the space for the priest and that for the penitent in the confessional are now completely separated, while a special ventilation system has been installed to prevent the virus from being transmitted via the respiratory tract. Plexiglass protection was installed in each confessional as a physical barrier between the priest and the penitent. Finally, after the celebration of the Sacrament, the entire confessional is sanitized before the next penitent has access to confession.
Fr. Matthias Young-yup Hur, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Seoul and vice president of the Diocesan Commission for Communications, comments in the note sent to Fides: “Our religious community has had to face very difficult times, given the ongoing pandemic. The reopening of fully equipped confessionals is part of our efforts to provide pastoral assistance to the faithful. To transform the crisis into an opportunity, we hope there will be other effective initiatives in the field of pastoral ministry also in the post-Covid era”.
According to the local Church, the priest stresses, the reopening of confessionals represents a decisive sign of hope that allows us to look beyond the crisis, offering the baptized an essential message: to take care of the spiritual life, to cultivate direct contact with God, to nourish faith through the sacraments are the main ways to overcome, with the grace of God, the difficulties and trials of existence.