Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., issued the following guidance April 2, 2020, on seeking Confession and the Sacrament of Penance during the current health crisis:
During this time when our churches and chapels are closed, and when the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is of such grave concern, Confessions should only be requested of our priests in times of emergency or other extreme circumstances.
I ask the faithful to reflect on the advice of Pope Francis and the Catechism’s teaching on seeking God’s forgiveness during these very difficult days:
“But many people today would tell me, ‘Father, where can I find a priest, a confessor, because I can’t leave the house? And I want to make peace with the Lord, I want him to embrace me, I want the Father’s embrace.’ Do what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1452) says. It is very clear: If you cannot find a priest to confess to, speak directly with God, your father, and tell him the truth. Say, ‘Lord, I did this, this, this. Forgive me,’ and ask for pardon with all your heart. Make an act of contrition and promise God, ‘I will go to confession afterward, but forgive me now.’ And immediately you will return to a state of grace with God (Homily, Mass, March 20, 2020).”