Cairo: The head of Egypt`s Coptic Church has
urged his congregation to refrain from confessing their sins
over the phone, which could be tapped by the security
services, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.
"Beware not to admit your sins over the telephone because
all phone conversations are recorded by the state security
services," Pope Shenuda III was quoted as saying by the
independent Al-Masri Al-Yawm paper.
"Otherwise you will have to go seek absolution in prison,
from the police, rather than from your local priest," the
cleric told worshippers during a sermon in Alexandria on
Sunday, according to the report.
According to the paper, Shenuda III was referring to
Copts who are travelling abroad and those who have relocated
to new addresses who often use the telephone to maintain
contact with their local parish priest.
Two years ago the head of the Coptic church had warned
that a confession made on the Internet is not valid "because
everyone can see it and it is no longer secret."
Confession of sins is a central element of many Christian
Copts make up about 10 per cent of the country`s
80-million largely Muslim population and are the Middle East`s
largest Christian community.