Hearing Loss and Confessional

Religious confession is most widely practiced in the Catholic Church. Usually, the penitent goes into one compartment, the priest goes into the other, and they communicate via a screen that connects the two. The confessional’s division between penitent and priest provides a sense of security — the penitent doesn’t have to look at the priest directly while confessing. This is not easy for people with hearing loss. Penitents with hearing loss have to feel comfortable confessing out in the open, in front of the priest. Moreover, some Deaf penitents would require a priest who can sign.

Read further here about “St. Damien’s Confession Box”, a solution that a priest figured out which could help the hearing loss individuals as well as the speech-impaired individuals to confess more comfortably. By confessing via “St. Damien’s Confession Box”, the penitent and the priest would both have a laptop each, where both laptops are connected to each other via a cable. A special software application ensures that signals are passed only between these two laptops, which secures the messages. Additionally, they don’t connect to the Internet and the priest’s laptop has a password to limit any possibility of unauthorized use. The penitent and priest could type to each other via laptop, and once the penance has been announced, the messages on the laptops aren’t stored.

The priest from Arizona, Father Romuald P. Zantua, is awaiting approval from the Holy See, which is the Catholic Church’s jurisdictional body.

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