Waiting and waiting and waaaaaiting in line for confession. Fr. Z rants.

From a reader:

If you’re sitting in the box and no one’s coming, double-check to make sure the other side isn’t stuck in the “occupied mode”.

Father, I went to confession last night, as did several other people.
We patiently stood in line for over a half hour thinking someone was in the box (the door was closed and the red light was on), and just taking a really long time (something that’s completely normal at our parish). Then the priest stepped out of the box, looked at us and said, “oops, sorry.” and opened the door. There was a lot of moaning, groaning, murmuring, and sighing from the line.

First, I must observe that the priest was actually in the box.  He was hearing confessions.  This is a blessing for the people.  You must be very happy that the priest was hearing confessions.  Aren’t you?

Many box-style confessionals with a grate and built in kneeler have a pressure switch which makes the light come on as soon as someone kneels. Sometimes it get’s stuck.  That can be fixed.  Sometimes there is a switch on the door, so that when it is closed, the light goes on.  Sometimes there is no light, but the door being ajar is a sign that no one is inside.  In the case of a box style, classic style, confessional, I am not convinced it is Father’s responsibility to open the door to the other side of the confessional.  Since he doesn’t have either x-ray vision or psychic powers, if no one gets into the box, he might suspect that there isn’t someone out there. If, however, there is almost always a good number of people and a line, that is another matter.

If the confessional is one of those horrid little rooms with comfy chairs and an end table accessorized with a vase of fake flowers, a box of tissues, a Bible with a white cover, and a framed print of happy Jesus cuddling a lamb then I guess Father should have seen the door was closed.  Reason #676 to eliminate those horrid little rooms.

Let horrid little rooms be eliminated!  Let all confessionals have fixed partitions with grates as soon as possible!

Because I am an unreconstructed ossified manualist, on my planet confessionals have on the penitent’s side are accessorized with the Act of Contrition under a crucifixion scene framed and bolted to the wall.  On the other side, on the priest’s side of the fixed barrier and the curtain over the grate, there is a rosary, breviary, a copy of the Code of Canon Law, my Examen Conscientiae, and Tanquerey’s or another manual for light reading.  Thus endeth the rant.

Frankly, I am and priests I know are very reluctant to get out of the box and look at the people in line because we want to make sure no one gets nervous for being recognized.   People should know they are going to confession anonymously if they wish to.  When getting into the confessional, I never look at people in line. When getting out I don’t look at people who may be doing penance… unless it is time to lock the church.  Even then there is mostly key rattling rather than pointed glances.

Finally, in my opinion, if people normally take “a really long time”  or a half of an hour to make a confession in the scheduled time for confessions then Father should rethink what he is doing.

But the upside is, Father was in the confessional.  That is the overriding good news.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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40 Responses to Waiting and waiting and waaaaaiting in line for confession. Fr. Z rants.

  1. RichR says:

    FrZ,

    In the photo above of a confessional [constructed in accord with the "hermeneutic of continuity"], is there ever a problem with a penitent on one side overhearing the confession of the penitent on the other side?

    I think these types of confessionals are the best. They protect the priest from any danger of innuendo, they preserve the penitent’s privacy (with the doors and screens), and they are a visible reminder to church-goers of the Sacrament of Confession. They also are an icon in and of themselves. No Hollywood movie ever shows the “therapy room” confessionals, they ALWAYS show types like this. It’s part of our Catholic identity, and I think we should reclaim it.

    However, I’ve always wondered about “dual occupancy” of penitents and their overhearing each other.

  2. RichR says:

    Oops….

    And I forgot to add:

    They address the problem in the original post because the priest can simply open the curtain and check to make sure there is no problem with the line moving.

  3. idatom says:

    Fr. Z.;

    From an electrician’s perspective, one solution would be to have duplicate lights in the confessional which the priest can see. If no one is coming in he could check to see if the red light is on.
    I do think some folks should make an appointment for counseling when they know there is an complicated problem or need for lengthy advise.

    Tom Lanter

  4. PhillipE says:

    RichR,
    I attend Mass at a Parish that uses these traditional types of Confessionals and have never overheard anyone from the other side. Most of these older models I’ve noticed have a wooden covering that goes over the grate on the Priests’ side that allows him to slide it to one side and speak to the person through the grate. If the wooden covering is over the grate you don’t hear much, maybe the Priest speaking to the other person.

  5. jbas says:

    RichR says, “…the priest can simply open the curtain and check to make sure there is no problem with the line moving.” Again, priests should not look outside because we may accidentally see the penitents faces.
    I would just like to say it really isn’t fair to a priest for someone to write a letter to a third party about a mistake like this. The writer could have just complained to the priest directly, or better yet, let it go unless it became a pattern. If it was a penitent who left the door closed and no one noticed, then it was just one of those things that happens sometimes.
    There are enough serious troubles in the Church these days without unnecessarily highlighting others. Complaints like this don’t help priests or penitents.

  6. TheRani says:

    At the parish where I attend Mass, the confessional is a sort of a hybrid . You open the door, and there’s a screen and a kneeler, where you can confess the traditional way, or you can walk around the screen and have a seat in the chair next to the little table with the box of tissues. The priest has a switch that activates the red and green lights.

  7. Joseph-Mary says:

    Our former pastor took away the lights for some reason but when one exits the door, they just leave it open. They are not two sided confessionals and it is easy for Father to open the door if it closes inadvertently. There is a small window and one one has the choice of a chair for face to face or to kneel behind a screen. Our confessionals are used because there are 11 confession times a week.

    The worst confessionals I have been in were both in Santa Fe where my brother lives. One surprise was to go through the ‘confessiondoor’ to discover a room with Father sitting in the middle of it and one chair facing him, knee to knee. They got rid of that and went to a glassed in box where everyone can see you. No thanks to that.

    And the comments are off on the person who came to confession after 8 years. Well, I had 19. No one mentioned I needed to go during that time….but after my return I brought an ex-Catholic friend of mine to an excellent parish mission. She was an ‘elder’ in her church with some say-so and authority which she greatly enjoyed. Well, she was moved to go to confession and came out weeping and saying how wonderful it was. And I said, “Well, Lucy, it is a Sacrament!” And she replied, “Can you believe that I forgot that?”

    Sadly she did not stay with the Catholic Church. Her position in her protestant denomination was a high one and she could not bring herself to give it up.

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    Rani,
    That’s exactly what we have too, and it seems to work pretty well most of the time.
    There is only one improvement I’d make, and that is the one suggested by idatom. We’d ought to have a switch or something on the outside of the confessional that the penitent could use to let the priest know that there’s still someone outside in line.

  9. CantareAmantisEst says:

    On the other side, on the priest’s side of the fixed barrier and the curtain over the grate, there is a rosary, breviary, a copy of the Code of Canon Law, my Examen Conscientiae, and Tanquerey’s or another manual for light reading.

    And, surely, a purple stole, too? (:

  10. rfox2 says:

    Fr. Z: But the upside is, Father was in the confessional. That is the overriding good news.

    Amen, Father. It’s almost impossible to express the great joy of having access to the sacrament of confession. It is also just as devastating to go to confession only to find that the priest refuses to obey the rubrics of the sacrament. However, that a priest is there, in persona Christi, and that we have the opportunity to receive pardon and peace through the ministry of absolution, is beautiful.

    Thank God most fervently for all priests who make this sacrament readily available. It is a vital sacrament, and an embodiment of the mercy of God. That priests are there, hearing confessions, is wonderful, and not to be taken for granted. Many thanks to all priests who are faithful about this sacrament.

  11. In the parish I grew up in, we had confessional rooms, but in the style of the box: the priest was in the middle room; there were penitent rooms on either side, where the penitent knelt in total darkness. You talked to the priest through a screen with a sliding door that he opened when it was your turn. The whole thing was sound-proof.

    Because I was not as well-catechized as I should have been, I found all this frightening and intimidating; but now, after years of psychotherapy rooms with glass doors that are anything but private and sound-proof, I want those old confessionals back. Ironic that in an age when we are so keen on the (non-existent) constitutional “right” to privacy, in the name of which we enshrine in law the greatest abominations, we don’t think twice about demolishing the privacy of the confessional. I think the stripping away of privacy is an assault on the Sacrament.

    (And let no one say this lack of privacy is necessary to safeguard against sex abuse. The old-style confessional, with physical separation between priest and penitent, was a far greater safeguard against physical sex abuse or false allegations of the same.)

  12. Nicole says:

    All the Pastors (throughout the past 5 years) at the parish I attend keep the weekly confessional times pretty rigorously. They’ve also been most widely accessible for private appointments if one perhaps needed to be unburdened from mortal sin in the meantime.

    It is also a surety to the line of penitents, during the weekly scheduled confessional time, when there is a penitent in the confessional box, not only because the light comes on when a person uses the kneeler, but also because there is not a hint of sound-proofing. You actually have to work NOT to hear what is going on in there…especially if you’re in the chapel behind the confessional box…the chapel acts like some kind of an echo chamber for whatever’s going on the in the confessional box.

    I have personal fears that this is not caring well for the seal of the confessional, but that’s waaaay outside my control. I hear that sound-proofing for the confessional is being discussed by a parish committee since the confessional has been this way for around 9 years, to my knowledge, but I have no idea where that discussion stands.

  13. Jason says:

    I attend an old church with old style confessionals which I like. The pastor at my church peers through the grate.

  14. Random Friar says:

    I’ve sat many times in the Confessional wondering if the light was on and nobody was home on the other side…

    I’m not sure what to do with a copy of the Code of Canon Law on my side. Perhaps, “For your penance, read all pertinent commentary out of this big, green monster of a version.”

  15. Random Friar says:

    Although Tanqueray would sure help with some…

  16. APX says:

    One surprise was to go through the ‘confessiondoor’ to discover a room with Father sitting in the middle of it and one chair facing him, knee to knee.

    Yes, I’ve had this happen this summer. (I don’t like “reconciliation rooms” especially if the priest is Fr. Luvstohug and doesn’t understand that not everyone likes hugging people. ) I hunted down a church old enough to still have a confessional and regular confession times. I found our Cathedral, but it turned out the confessional (and closet behind it) was converted into a reconciliation room. It was too uncomfortable for me, and not in the way Confession should be. I will commend them though for using shag carpeting to sound proof it. That’s what they use at the indoor shooting ranging, and it works wonders dampening the sound of gun shots, so I can’t imagine anyone hearing someone talking outside the confessional.

    On the other hand, at the end of the summer I discovered the confessional at the church that the Latin Mass is offered when there was a visiting priest from the FSSP hearing confessions. It was your bare bones no-nonsense confessional. It had been used so much over the years that the wooden kneeler had kneeling grooves well worked into it. I couldn’t imagine kneeling on that thing for 30 minutes.

  17. Nicole says:

    Random Friar –

    I would imagine some priests use the Code of Canon Law to look up penalties for individual delicts to see if they can actually lift specific excommunications (or other penalties) and absolve the person or whether they must direct the person to the Bishop or Apostolic See for a trial of the person’s case or for the penalty to be lifted by the competent authority so that the confessor may give him absolution.

  18. PomeroyonthePalouse says:

    One surprise was to go through the ‘confessiondoor’ to discover a room with Father sitting in the middle of it and one chair facing him, knee to knee.

    but it turned out the confessional (and closet behind it) was converted into a reconciliation room.

    That had happened in our parish before we moved there back in 1999. And now the parish is re-doing the “reconciliation room” for our church building’s centenary. Father’s really proud of the 5 windows that will be in the wall separating the “room” from the church. (Don’t waste your time looking through any of the windows for a kneeler or screen, however.)

    The windows are apparently to keep the priest from taking advantage of the penitent. As a commentator above said, the old style confessionals did a better job.

  19. heway says:

    I was surprised to see this discussion tonight. Our priest arrived a few minutes beore Mass, turned on the light and about 4 of us went to confession. The confessional is in the hallway between church and sacristy, a room about 8×6. Both doors are closed and you have a choice of chair, face to face or grate and kneeler. No kleenex, no flowers. Just a simple crucifix to remind you to whom you are confessing. I have no idea what accessories Father has -as I don’t usually open my eyes or look up until he is giving absolution. I love this sacrament in any form!

  20. scholastica says:

    When in Rome a number of years ago I went to the Church of St. Alphonsus where the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is venerated. My friends and I were seeking an English speaking priest for confession as we were to assist at Blessed John Paul II’s private mass the following day. You can imagine that we were all quite excited, but when the priest walked me past the confession box, down the stairs, along a dark hall and then opened the door to a “reconciliation” room, I politely told him I would be much more comfortable in the confessional. So, we left the nice carpeted room, went back along the hall, up the stairs and into the confession box. He was very gracious and accomodating and my friends then followed suit in the box. Obviously, many priests have come to believe that we are more comfortable in the rooms, perhaps we simply need to tell them we’re not.

    “It had been used so much over the years that the wooden kneeler had kneeling grooves well worked into it. I couldn’t imagine kneeling on that thing for 30 minutes.”
    Perfect solution!

  21. Rev Mr Flapatap says:

    Years ago, I went to confession hoping that the settings would provide a sense of anonimity. As soon as I knelt and said: “Bless me father for I have sinned” he replied: “Oh, hi Carlos!”

    I have been to confession a number of times where I could hear the other person and the priest. I would spend the time smacking my ears so that I could not hear what was going on while repeating the Meow Mix jingle in my head.

  22. magister63 says:

    I get so frustrated with the “rec(onciliation) rooms” and face to face confessions. We often have long lines at our parish, and you know when someone is going face to face when they take an unduly long amount of time. It is very unfair, as there is only a half hour allotted and the priest does not stay past his time. He has to leave and get vested for the Saturday evening “Sabbath Mass”.
    I went to another parish once and arrived right before the start of confessions to make sure I could get in, and there were only three elderly women in line. The priest was an older retired priest. I thought I had plenty of time because there were only three mature ladies who looked to be in their late 70s or early 80s in line in front of me, so I knelt down and examined my conscience. I heard guffaws and laughing from inside the reconciliation room. I got up and stood in line, and almost didn’t make the cutoff. Each of the at that time two elderly ladies in front of me entered the “confessional” and moments later I heard the priest guffawing and laughing. With five minutes left of the half hour I finally made it in and knelt behind a curtain that was there and was out in a couple of minutes. No one else showed up for confessions. I guess I gave the priest time to compose himself before Mass…

  23. Denita says:

    Just wanted to chime in. If I feel I need more time for spiritual direction, I make an appointment to see my confessor (an FSSP priest) before Mass on Sunday; I try not to take too much time in Confession to be considerate of others who are waiting. And I HATE the term “reconciliation.” It’s too feel-goody-im-ok-you-ok sounding.

  24. Carolina Geo says:

    I experienced a different kind of waiting on Sunday for Confession. I had driven over 2 hours (and had left home especially early) to get to an FSSP parish where they hear Confessions before Mass. I arrived 35 minutes before Mass, and there were 5 people in front of me in line. When the priest finished hearing Confessions 5 minutes before Mass, there was still one person in front of me. In other words, in 30 minutes the priest heard 4 Confessions.

    I can appreciate the thoroughness with which the FSSP priests administer the sacrament, but I would respectfully ask any priests who are hearing Confessions before Mass to please exercise a little consideration for the long line of penitents that might be waiting.

  25. irishgirl says:

    In the 1980s I went to confession ‘face to face’ a lot of times. I did that only if I knew the priests.
    When I used to go to Saturday 12:10 Mass at the parish where I was baptized, the confessionals were changed into ‘rec rooms’ [my term for 'reconciliation room'-yeah, Denita, I hate the word, too]. The outside looked like the usual ‘box’, but the inside had two chairs [one for the priest, one for the penitent] and a screen that the penitent could swing over if they wanted to make their confession behind the screen.
    Looking back, I don’t think whoever did the ‘redesign’ thought things out very well. The priest could see who the penitent was when he or she came in, even before they swung the screen.
    I don’t know if the confessionals were changed back in the wake of the sex abuse scandals-that parish doesn’t have 12:10 Mass on Saturdays any more.
    I feel safer using the anonymity of ‘the box’!

  26. mjsanta83 says:

    At least the priest was there. I called ahead to a church and confirmed confession on a Saturday. So I showed up early and waited a bit. I couldn’t even find the confessional so I asked another person who wad there helping get ready for mass. He told me there wasn’t confession on Saturday. It was very frustrating.

  27. Centristian says:

    Fr. Z says: “If the confessional is one of those horrid little rooms with comfy chairs and an end table accessorized with a vase of fake flowers, a box of tissues, a Bible with a white cover, and a framed print of happy Jesus cuddling a lamb then I guess Father should have seen the door was closed. Reason #676 to eliminate those horrid little rooms.

    Let horrid little rooms be eliminated!”

    Oh, no! Please! Don’t do that. I suppose I’m in the minority, here, but I loathe the confessional and prefer face-to-face confessions in a comfortable room, white Bibles, cuddly lambs and all. Okay, I can survive without the cuddly lambs, but don’t eliminate the alternative to the “box”. I find the dark, musty, broom closet-sized environment of the confessional claustrophobic and not conducive to a good confession, in my own case, insofar as I always feel rushed by my own need to get out of the horrid little booth. Also, the sound of the priest’s door sliding open in a confessional has the same effect on me as the sound of a dentists’s drill.

  28. APX says:

    @Carolina Geo 3
    I experienced a different kind of waiting on Sunday for Confession. I had driven over 2 hours (and had left home especially early) to get to an FSSP parish where they hear Confessions before Mass. I arrived 35 minutes before Mass, and there were 5 people in front of me in line. When the priest finished hearing Confessions 5 minutes before Mass, there was still one person in front of me. In other words, in 30 minutes the priest heard 4 Confessions.

    I can appreciate the thoroughness with which the FSSP priests administer the sacrament, but I would respectfully ask any priests who are hearing Confessions before Mass to please exercise a little consideration for the long line of penitents that might be waiting.

    Your experience is the norm at my parish. I get to Mass about 30 minutes (there’s another Mass right before) before and there’s a long line up. Our priest can’t get through them all, but he does hear Confessions again after Mass. One thing I’ve noticed with the FSSP priests I’ve gone to Confession with (so far it’s been 3) is that hearing Confessions is on their priority list and they do the best they can to hear everyone’s Confessions. Obviously if Mass is starting, Father has to go say Mass, but on Saturday evenings when there’s the hour block of time scheduled, Confessions often go well over the hour block…even when it’s 30°C outside and the A/C hasn’t been on in the parish (read: Confessional feels like an inferno).

    When I was a two hour drive from the FSSP Mass earlier in the year, I’d make the drive on Saturday evening to make sure I would get to go to Confession rather than try to rely on the before Mass Confessions (I hadn’t realized Father stuck around after Mass to keep hearing confessions). I can’t tell you how happy I am that I’m now in the same city and don’t have to do the two hour drive anymore.

  29. KAS says:

    I dislike face to face confession! I MUCH prefer the kneeler and screen and wall between the priest’s side and the penitent’s side. I find I focus on the fact that it is to God I am confessing and the priest is witness and there to speak the words of forgiveness that I need to hear.

    The only down side to our nice traditional old fashioned confessional is that the sound proofing is really poor and many times the priest on the other side wants you to speak up so he can hear but I do NOT want the nosy nellies in line to hear my confession. All too often people line up WAY to close to the doors for proper privacy.

  30. TheRani says:

    I usually do confess face-to-face, mainly because the priest has known me for years and would recognize my voice anyway.

  31. SGCOLC says:

    Our Parish has curtains, no doors, and a grill, no face-to-face. The mechanism for the lights is an invisible light beam projected behind the penitent toward a reflector. When the penitent stands or kneels before the grill, he blocks the beam, which changes the light from green to red. Father also has a light in his side, so he knows if a particularly quiet penitent enters the confessional. The only hitch (aside from when the light projector breaks, which has happened only once in my 15 years in the parish) is that kids have been known to smear their dirty little fingers on the reflector, which can sometimes prevent reflection of the light beam. Then Father will ask the next penitent to wipe the reflector. Generally, it all works quite well. Our Pastor is in the confessional every day before Mass.

  32. SGCOLC says:

    Another parish in our deanery has a room in which you encounter a screen as soon as you walk in the door. You can kneel to make your confession, or you can walk around the screen to sit facing the priest. No stuffed lambs or other feel-good items within, but there is some sort of fan-like device. I had once thought it was to prevent the room from becoming stuffy, but one confession I took a look at the thing and realized it was actually a white noise emitter, which I now believe is intended to somewhat cover the voices, to prevent confessions from being heard outside the room. Very clever and thoughtful!
    Recently I came to this church for confession. The door was open, the light was green. I entered, made my confession, and – no response. I waited. Cleared my throat. Finally, thinking Father had fallen asleep, I got up and peered around the screen. No one was there! I left the room, and a few minutes later Father arrived. I had to repeat my confession. You’d think with the extra practice I would have gotten it right, but I forgot an important detail and had to re-enter the confessional a few minutes later to tell Father what I’d forgotten. He was very supportive: said I gain extra graces for coming back. He didn’t know it was my third try! :)

  33. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Denita,

    the problem with the term of Reconciliation is not that it may make you feel good – which is a benefit.

    Nevertheless, the term is not unproblematic but for another reason. The Sacrament of Penance is a sacrament of reconciliation. It is not the sacrament of reconciliation, which is primarily Holy Baptism. Hence, there is some antinomy in calling Penance, but not Baptism, the Sacrament of Reconciliation with majuscules.

  34. chantgirl says:

    But the upside is, Father was in the confessional. That is the overriding good news.

    Amen! In my mid-twenties I hadn’t been to confession for several years, and had just read about the reality of mortal sin. It was about 8:00 at night, and let’s just say it felt as if my guardian angel was pushing me out the door to find a priest for confession. The first rectory door I knocked on, no one answered, so after about five minutes I drove to the next-nearest church and a kindly old priest answered the door and agreed to hear my confession. I confessed about everything under the sun. He asked me about numbers of times I for certain sins and I had to tell him I didn’t know, but guessed at the number. I remember him being so kind, like a grandfather, and he told me it was good that I came to confession because if I died with mortal sin, I couldn’t go to heaven. I think I floated home from that confession. The priest has since died, but I pray that God was as compassionate to him as the priest was to me. Thanks for priests who go out of their way to hear confession!

  35. MyBrokenFiat says:

    There was a really great “secret” on Postsecret this week from a priest who hears confessions.

    It was heart-meltingly wonderful. :)

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zqD0c94dsMk/TofOcF1M-jI/AAAAAAAAQDk/HOcH07bC1R4/s1600/priest.jpg

    Enjoy! I hope they keep this link active for a long time!

  36. maxthedog123 says:

    First of all, I love the sacrament. I prefer “the box”, but being able to go to confession makes ANY setting better than not being able to find it! I am blessed that several downtown churches near me offer regular times during the day rather than the typical 4:00-4:30 time in most suburban parishes with 3000+ families.

    I travel quite a bit. Many times, I have sought out the sacrament before getting on a plane because I had something serious enough to take care of sooner rather than later. I have many favorite “confession stories” trying to make that happen. One of my favorites: I was in NYC at St. Patrick for 7am Mass and asked a deacon if there was someone to hear confession. An old Monsignor was just finishing Mass and the person told him I wanted to go to confession. He had very little time and, walking away from people around, said “I only have a minute, it has to be right now, so let’s begin and just speak softly.” BEAUTIFUL.

    I was in Atlanta and called a parish near where I was at – a priest answered. He said he had a commitment, but if I could be there in 30 minutes he was absolutely available. I went to the door of the church and a Deacon asked what I wanted. When I told him “confession” he told me the priest was busy. I told him I just talked to him – he disappeared, came back and showed me where to go. This generous priest heard my confession – in a room face to face – and then invited me to stay for mass – which turned out to be for just the priests in the diocese with the Archbishop. He was getting reading to have the Archbishop at his church and took time out to hear my confession. I was humbled beyond belief.

    I guess my point for a first time post is this – many priests are so generous with their time to take care of souls. I definitely prefer a dark anonymous place for confession, but if you find a place where a priest is generous enough to go out of his way to hear confessions, then rejoice in God’s mercy!!!!

  37. maxthedog123 says:

    One more funny story – from a downtown parish that has very regular confession times every day. Fr. X was over 90 and stone deaf. The confessional there is “modified” where you walk in and the priest can’t see you. You can kneel behind a screen or go around and sit in a chair. It’s pretty soundproof, but dear old Father would sometimes say “Did you say _______” very loudly. He was a wonderful priest, God rest his soul, who spent hours in the confessional. More than once, I have mumble an answer so I didn’t have to shout!!

  38. techno_aesthete says:

    if people normally take “a really long time”

    Confession is not the primary time for spiritual direction. Sure, some spiritual direction can be given in response to the sins confessed, but this should not be a long two-way conversation, IMHO. A priest once said that when going to confession one should “be brief, be brutal, be gone.” I try to do that when I go to confession.

  39. APX says:

    @techno_aesthete

    I don’t think it’s fair to pass judgement on what’s going on in the confessional. Even my Confessor, who’s an FSSP priest can get a little long-winded in giving counsel for a brief confession, and he talks so fast you couldn’t have a two-way conversation if you tried. Fortunately it’s all really good and helpful stuff he rattles off.

  40. MouseTemplar says:

    Our Parish seems to have a true passion for Confession. The pre-Mass lines become so long, even with brief visits that some of our retired priests [we house 12] come over to the church and just grab a chair and set up shop. We simply kneel by his side and recite our sins. Everyone is careful to give each other enough space to have privacy and it works out quite well. The amazing growth of penitents in our Parish seems to be due to our diligent Pastor who likes to quote B. F. Skinner, saying “We can’t help you unless you get into the box!”