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By Jennifer Hartline, The Stream, May 28, 2020
Jennifer Hartline is a senior contributor to The Stream. You can follow her at @jenniehartline.
I had an unsettling experience this weekend when I attempted to go to Confession at a local church. I described it in a short Facebook post because I believe it is important that we realize what’s happening, or what likely will happen in parishes around the country.
Briefly, here’s what happened. Waiting at the open church door was a masked woman holding a clipboard. She said hello and asked for my full name. I replied that I only wanted to go to Confession. She said that she was required to get my full name and contact information for tracing purposes.
I made the decision not to go inside, and I quietly turned around and left. I do not believe it is right nor necessary to require a penitent to give his/her name and contact info in order to go to Confession, and I will not do it. I have exactly zero confidence that all this contact tracing will not be used and abused by the State to take greater control and to further erode religious liberty in our country — not to mention every other form of liberty. (I’m also uncertain how this squares with canon law regarding anonymity in Confession, but I did not raise that issue in my post.) …