The Roman Catholic Church in France is objecting to a new pay telephone line set up to receive people's confessions, AFP reported.
The phone line, called "Le Fil du Seigneur," or "The Line of the Lord," was set up at the start of the Christian fasting period of Lent by a group of Catholics working for a small Paris company that provides telephone messaging services.
It doesn't claim to offer absolution for sins — that's still left to a priest — but a woman identified by AFP as one of the line's creator said the idea is to confess minor sins directly to God.
The Confederation of French Bishops said the line had not been approved by the Catholic Church in France.
"For the Catholic faithful, confession has a sacramental meaning and requires the real presence of a priest," the bishops said in a written statement.
The group behind the phone line — which charges 46 cents a minute — says a portion of the proceeds goes to charity.