A ‘pay-to-confess’ telephone hotline for Catholics too busy to go to church has been condemned as ‘utterly unacceptable’ by bishops in France.
The service – called the Phoneline to the Lord – charges users 30p a minute to confess their sins to an automated answering machine.
When the number is called, a soothing male voice says: ‘For advice on confessing, press one. To confess, press two. To listen to some confessions, press three.’
But with soft organ music playing in the background, the voice warns: ‘In case of serious or mortal sins – that is, sins that have cut you off from Christ our Lord – it is essential to confide in a priest.’