Now that I’m an interactive telephony class, I’m more compelled to take note of interesting examples of telephone systems. Heard this today on the radio – a “pay telephone line for French Roman Catholics to confess their sins [is drawing] criticism from bishops” in France.
EWTN News says, ‘the service, which was initiated at the beginning of Lent by a group of Catholics working working at a small Paris phone company, is called “The Line of the Lord” and charges callers 46 cents a minute.
A woman identified as “Camille,” who is an employee of the small Paris-based phone company AABAS, told reporters on Tuesday that although the service she helped create does not offer absolution, “The idea is to confess sins which are not capital sins, but minor sins, directly to God.”
“Callers do not talk to a person but can confess their sins and listen to prayers, music or other people’s confessions in an atmosphere of piety and reflection,” she explained.
When the number is called, a voice on the line says “For advice on confessing, press one. To confess, press two. To listen to some confessions, press three.” The voice continues to warn that “In case of serious or mortal sins – that is, sins that have cut you off from Christ our Lord, it is indispensable to confide in a priest.”
Camille, who would not give her last name as she has already received threats from angered Catholics, said the line has received around 300 calls in the first week and that part of the proceeds are going to charity.’
Turns out you’re even allowed to hear other people’s confessions.
Here’s a translated excerpt from the site:
As for young, busy in their virtual world where new gods officiate through video games, Internet and phones, they seem to gradually move away from social, moral and religious. Less than 2% of 18-29 year olds go to church every Sunday. So why not put technology at the service of spirituality. And thanks to our modern ways to enter the church in our lives and in our hearts … a simple phone call.
http://lefilduseigneur.com/ (translated: http://bit.ly/hZcfCe)
And, Vanity Fair has an article featuring a recording of someone at Conde Nast making a phone call. The recording is in French and English, so if you don’t speak French or regularly pray in French, it’s rather cryptic except for the English. Her “sin” is calling internationally from her work phone. (I don’t think it’s a sin – it was for work.)
Meanwhile, turns out phone confessions or apologies aren’t new. This Time article covers an apology hotline in LA. And, actually, a Catholic confession line once existed in 1955.
It’s a tempting curiosity, but I don’t plan to call in. I’m not (a French) Catholic.