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Thou shalt not take SMS confession

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MANILA, Philippines -- In a country seemingly as devoted to its mobile phones as it is to its faith, the Catholic church has confessed there is a limit to its devotion to modernity.

The nation's Catholic faithful have been told that when it comes to confession, sending a text message reciting your sins is no longer permissible in seeking absolution.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) secretary general Hernando Coronel told The Philippine Star newspaper sinners would have to do it the old fashioned way, face-to-face with the church vicar.

"We are encouraging Catholics to confess their sins -- but the confession has to be personal. They should go to priests and ask pardon with a contrite heart," said Coronel.

Joining 'thou shalt not confess via SMS text message' were similar commandments from CBCP ruling out the use of emails and faxes in owning up to personal improprieties.

Coronel said the practice of confessing through a handset had caught on recently but was "unacceptable", reported the Star.

Catholic priests, he added, were also prohibited from granting absolution for a confessant's sins using text messaging, e-mail or by faxing the confessant.

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