TERRE HAUTE, Indiana — A Catholic priest in western Indiana has stopped hearing drive-through confessions at the request of the Indianapolis Archdiocese amid the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

Father Dan Bedel, who serves both St. Patrick and St. Margaret Mary Catholic churches in Terre Haute, said he was able to hear about 15 confessions over two days in which he parked his pickup truck in the church parking lots and parishioners drove up next to him and cracked their windows for the sacrament, the Tribune-Star reported.

However, the “archdiocese has deemed it to be too high a risk for contamination,” Bedel told parishioners in a notice Tuesday.

“I am confident that we can help to slow the contamination of the population by staying home where possible,” he stated.

Catholic churches across Indiana have been closed to Masses, meetings and gatherings because of the pandemic.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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