- NEWS.COM.AU REPORT: Father opens drive-through confessional
- Includes a seven-sin-selection board
- Flashing green light signals forgiveness
SINFUL drivers can repent on the run with the opening today of Australia's first drive-through confessional.
The pray-as-you-go service is to become slicker, with a sin-selection board to be installed by Easter and a smartphone app on the way, the Herald Sun reported.
South Melbourne Catholic priest Fr Bob McGuire said yesterday that the move brought the church up to speed with modern life.
"Everybody drives past this place but no one comes in," Fr McGuire said.
"Now they can stop at the window, open their window and confess their sins. Then I'll reassure them that they'll be right."
A flashing green light will signal when a driver's sins have been forgiven. "When you're driving out you'll be clean as a whistle," Fr McGuire said.The 60-second car wash for the soul includes a symbolically refreshing spray of rose water.
The seven cardinal sins - lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride - will be numbered on a sign, Chinese menu-style.
From 6.30am, sinners will repent at a mobile unit dubbed the Hopemobile in the St Peter and Paul's church driveway, confessing, for instance, to three No.7s and a No.4.
Fr McGuire said the coded response was meant to maintain confidentiality.
A more permanent set-up should be in place by Easter and Fr McGuire is hoping for a sponsor to cover set-up costs.
He said some overseas churches had confessional sponsors. At least one had a bookmaker as the backer. "They called it O'Flaherty's sin bin or something," he said.
The phone app, sourced from the US, will let drivers select deadly sins from a list, which will appear in front of the priest on a screen when the car pulls up.
It will also advise on the correct form of words to use.
"Part of it's being already used in one church in the US," Fr McGuire said.
"I think it's even been passed by the church police.
"It's the combining it with being forgiven for your sins in the flesh that hasn't been tried."
Fr McGuire ran a trial of drive-by prayer three weeks ago, on Ash Wednesday, but gave it up for Lent.