EWTN Catholic Q&A
Question from Hélene on 12-20-2016:

Hello my question is are we allowed to confess our sins by writing them down and having the priest read them while we are sorry and then give us absolution.They aferwards shred them and put them as straw in the Christmas crib.I would greatly appreciate a clear answer on this one.Thank-you and Merry Christmas.Hélene. Québec.

Answer by EWTN, VP for Theology on 02-16-2017:

The answer is "no". It is called "auricular" confession for a reason. You accuse yourself orally and the priest who hears, absolves you in Christ's name. Only a mute person would be permitted to confess in that way. This adds a sentimental ceremony to the substantive purpose of the Sacrament, which has a form and liturgical norms that dictate how it is celebrated.

However, you may certainly make notes to prompt yourself as to what you intend to confess. That is advisable for a general confession after a long period of time, but not in substitution for confessing.