Wherein Fr. Z is disgusted

I received this from a reader, photos and text.

First, some photos.

It’s good to go to confession at this time of the year, please consider doing so.  If it has been many years, no worry, just ask the priest to help you and he will take you step by step, you will feel like a new person afterwards.

Our photos show two confessionals which were repurposed.  Sooo sad.  Normally I would blame this on Fr. Feelgood and Sister Newage and their associates who have been hellbent on destroying our church for the last forty years.  I would be correct in doing so, but we are also responsible to some extent because many of us turned our backs on this important sacrament.  Our holy priests were in there waiting for years but we never came.  These ordained men forgive our sins not with their power but with the power of Christ which He gave then in the Upper Room 2000 years ago.  Go to confession now, life is short.  This would be a perfect way to celebrate His birthday.

So… friends…


Fathers, if you have done this to confessionals… I think you might merit eternal perdition.  However, you could tidy them up again, get in, and turn on the light.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kate says:

    We had a confessional just like this! All it took was one selfless priest who would sit in the confessional for hours each week to get it cleaned out. Amazing, but all that stuff found another home.

  2. JustaSinner says:

    The trash can kinda sums it up…smh.

  3. Josephus Corvus says:

    Looks like all the parts are still there at least. All it takes is one good priest like Kate mentioned and they’re back in business. At my parish they pulled out the entire structure and turned them into little alcoves for devotional candles. It’s the silly reconciliation room or nothing. For the Christmas / Easter penance services with individual confession after, one priest is in the reconciliation room and the other is on a chair up front (no screen there, just two chairs).

  4. Glennonite says:

    Turn on the light. That’s it.

  5. APX says:

    Wouldn’t this be a sacrilege? Aren’t confessionals consecrated when the Church is consecrated?

  6. Julia_Augusta says:

    The saddest confessional is the one that is empty all the time. In the parish church that I go to in Japan, I am always the only one waiting outside the confessional. It is so rare for anyone else to go to confession in this church, that the two times I saw someone else waiting outside the confessional (not the same person) I thought I was hallucinating. A couple of months ago, the elderly priest who used to hear confessions suddenly disappeared… I’m guessing he is ill. The other priests are too busy doing other things before mass, although I did manage to get one of them to hear my confession. It was a laborious process. Yet, almost all of the people at mass go to Communion! Either they are all saints or they don’t believe in confession. There are no other times for confession in this parish church so it’s not like they sneak in there during the week to confess. Now I am traveling again, this time to the Holy Land. I need to go to confession but none of the churches in Tel Aviv post confession times. I called the nearest church and no one answered, and their website is broken (of course). I tried another church – no success. The churches in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Nazareth are hopeless when it comes to posting confession times: they don’t do it. The confessionals were all empty when I went to visit the churches. Yet in Tel Aviv last Sunday, almost everyone went to Communion. I’m starting to get paranoid: is Our Lord hiding all these confessionals and confession times from me? Do the parishioners all go at some weird hour unbeknownst to me at some weird location? I’m quite desperate. Am I relegated to praying privately and trying to do an Act of perfect contrition? This is dangerous, I believe. There is a reason why our Lord have us the sacrament of Penance. We can’t do it alone unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g. on a plane that is about to crash).

  7. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Yes, dear Fathers, make Confession available, but you must also talk. Give sermons on the power of the Sacrament, the destruction of sin — yes, the word that has been banished. People need a reason to come to the Sacrament of Penance. In my parish, one new, young priest began to give such sermons and, lo, the lines formed and the time had to be extended and he even came back after Mass. It can be done.

  8. SanSan says:

    Yep,sigh, that’s what our parish’s confessional look like too except for one. Back in the day we needed 4 confessionals, now we only need 1 since no one “needs” to go to confession……haven’t you heard that everyone goes to heaven bc God is merciful?

  9. Il Ratzingeriano says:

    A picture is worth a thousand words.

  10. Benedict Joseph says:

    I’ve seen it before. If only it was the only clerically manufactured sacrilege.

  11. Prayerful says:

    The diocesan TLM chaplaincy locally does use one of the eight for storage, but any two are at least in use before and during High Mass and Saturday Low Mass, SSPX have it 1/4 before either Low or High Mass. The New Order of Mass only Passionist Retreat and parish / conventual church does have a sort of Reconciliation Room thing going on, but there is kneeler and screen for those who wish to use it, and Confession most of the week. Sadly far too many barely understand Confession maybe going once a year. Hopefully that means mortal sin has largely vanished among Catholics, but probably not.

  12. Bthompson says:

    This sort of thing is dirt common

  13. PetersBarque says:

    This is now an obviously established utility closet. Who before Almighty God had the audacity to permit such profanation, and why have Catholics become so indifferent as to remain docile in the face of such sacrilege?

  14. mitdub says:

    Yes, shamefully, this is not at all uncommon, even in otherwise good novus ordo parishes. No real sense of the holiness of things that have been consecrated for a holy purpose. Once we have a better idea, meh, what difference, at this point, does it make!?

  15. surritter says:

    Received from a reader, photos AND text? That’s pretty cool.

  16. Pingback: Wherein Fr. Z is disgusted | Fr. Z’s Blog | Deaconjohn1987's Blog

  17. JMody says:

    I don’t know which is more shocking, that they don’t use the Confessional, or that they think ANY SPOT inside the “worship space” is appropriate for storing trashbags, Halloween trinkets, a hot plate, and a half a can of coffee.
    What would this VISIGOTH do if the tabernacle were any larger???

  18. Sword40 says:

    Sometimes I forget how Blessed I am, that we have two FSSP priests. Confessions everyday before, during and after Mass, seven days a week. The lines are always long. But it is so comforting to know that it is available.

  19. JabbaPapa says:

    I’m not too keen on Confessionals personally for my own Confessions, but it’s quite horrid to see them so destroyed for those who feel a perfectly legitimate and laudable need for them !!!

  20. Gaetano says:

    Where else are they supposed to keep the incense bowls & liturgical tambourines?

  21. Andrew says:

    I have seen something similar at the Mission Santa Clara in California. That venerable church built a long time ago has some beautiful confessionals on each side. If you peek behind the veil, you’ll notice that they are used as storage room. Even more sad: when I was visiting there, someone next to me (a catholic) looked inside and said to me: “what are these things made for?”

  22. thomas777 says:

    There is another less obvious reason for why the confessionals are used this way. It may just be a local Australian response, but the clergy abuse crisis caused this directly. Here in Australia I am sorry to report that much to my surprise I recently discovered that at one time in the past there were “mandatory confessions” for certain young lads who had been marked. So no they will not be opening them anytime soon. Just another part of the destructive legacy of the homo heresy in the clergy. Holy Virgin merit our salvation.

  23. Fr Richard Duncan CO says:

    We have nine hours of scheduled confessions on Christmas Eve, serviced by five confessors. I am on duty from 11:30am to 1:00pm, 4:30pm to 6:00pm and from 10:30pm to whenever the last penitent has finished (which will probably be well into Midnight Mass). If past experience is anything to go by, we will all be kept busy because, believe it or not, if you make the sacrament available at times which are convenient, people will


  24. Anneliese says:

    You’ll see this in a few parishes in St. Louis. Only two are used out of four at one parish. The other two are used for a memorial for the deceased that has a Pieta and for the choir materials. Another parish down the street has done the same. They only utilize two. One is used for the choir and the other has been turned into a chapel in a way. There are a couple of chairs, a candle and an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Surprisingly, the local Jesuit parish 3 miles down the road have most of their confessionals ready for the use. And the surprising thing is that confessions are heard 6 days a week, 7 days when school is in session during the academic year for the adjacent college.

  25. iamlucky13 says:

    “We have nine hours of scheduled confessions on Christmas Eve, serviced by five confessors.”

    Father Duncan, that’s wonderful! Thank you and your fellow priests for making this effort.

    It seems like most parishes are more likely to cancel confessions during the bustle leading up to Christmas, rather than extend them. Yet what better way can there be to prepare to celebrate a feast than the sacrament of Reconciliation? Especially for anyone urgently desiring it.

    I’m sure the volume of penitents you saw last year is also due to taking the time to preach about it throughout the year, as well. Keep up the good work.

  26. ChesterFrank says:

    I like the honesty of that confessional, if it were to be used as a confessional. You can see what you are walking into, and that is so much different from the places that were converted into reconciliation rooms. Nothing worse than walking into a confessional and seeing a psychiatrists couch..

  27. TonyO says:

    Sadly far too many barely understand Confession maybe going once a year. Hopefully that means mortal sin has largely vanished among Catholics, but probably not.

    Prayerful, where you find confession not used regularly, there you will find sin abounds. Therefore, it is virtually a moral impossibility that in such place “mortal sin has largely vanished” among Catholics. Almost certainly, there you will find that the sense of mortal sin has vanished. With predictable consequences. Sadly.

    It seems like most parishes are more likely to cancel confessions during the bustle leading up to Christmas, rather than extend them. Yet what better way can there be to prepare to celebrate a feast than the sacrament of Reconciliation? Especially for anyone urgently desiring it.

    It can be so much better. For instance, I wonder what would happen if, immediately after the sign of the cross at Christmas mass, Fr. announced to all of those C&E “Catholics” that going to communion without having first gone to confession could mean damnation, and that “the confessional is open, right now, if you haven’t been this year yet, get in line.” Another tack: my former pastor used to tell people all during Lent, at nearly every homily: early in Lent, penances will be very light. As we go through Lent, the penances will get “interesting”. If you leave if for the last minute, be prepared for a penance of trudging up to “the Shrine” (40 miles away) on your knees. But get to confession!

    Thank you, Fr. Z and all you other good priests, for making confession available more often than just Saturday afternoon for 45 minutes.

  28. bartlep says:

    I was at my granddaughter’s Baptism at St. Bernard’s in Madison 3 years ago. The confessional was beautiful so I peeked inside. Yep! Mops and brooms and various other junk. I was so disgusted. Also, the choir was smack dab behind the altar!

  29. nemo says:

    We are truly blessed in my town where confessions are available every day of the week in two locations–the FSSP parish or the downtown diocesan parish. The latter has three days of confessions before Christmas and Easter from 9 AM until 7 PM. Nobody has an excuse for not getting to confession!

  30. HighMass says:

    Hey It’s the Spirit of Vatican II!!!!!!!!!!

  31. NBW says:

    It’s so sad to see the confessional used as a storage closet.

  32. Clinton R. says:

    Just so sad to see. The mentality that has been so pervasive since the conclusion of the 2nd Vatican Council has no need for “Dark Ages” era confessionals. Of course, the word “Confessional” has become practically verboten and replaced with the non judmental sounding term “Reconciliation room.” The Church, after all, has to be more sensitive for today’s snowflake Catholics who are also frightened by black vestments for the Requiem Mass.

  33. Fr. Kelly says:

    This is a travesty!

    What we bring to the confessional, we bring there to get rid of it.
    Not to store it and keep it.

  34. iPadre says:

    One of my former parishes had a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the confessional. That spoke volumes not only of the fact that there was “no room in the inn.” I can remember though if she was on the hearing side or confessing side. I know the vacuum and other junk was in there also. But, it speaks volumes.

  35. Fr. Kelly says:

    You know, As I look more closely, It would take almost nothing to recover these confessionals.
    A good priest could do it himself in about 20 minutes.

    1 Clear out the detritus. Put it the Janitor’s closet where it belongs, (or put it in a box in the cry room perhaps, with a sign saying lost and found)
    2 Take down the makeshift shelves and shelf supports.
    3 Get a chair, your breviary and a printout of the formula of absolution in both the new and old forms.
    4Turn on the mercury-filled CFLs
    5 Sit down in there and wait and pray for your people

    Okay, Step 5 will take longer than 20 minutes, but you will have St. John Vianney for company as you wait.

  36. On the plus side, the confessional was left alone and not torn out, still recoverable.
    Most of the churches in our area aren’t old enough to have ever had such wonderful old confessionals. Many are fitted with permanent chat rooms… I mean reconciliation rooms. Cement walls and such ugliness.

    Gee. Looks nice on the outside. All that junk in there. As if no one had EXAMINED the INTERIOR and removed the mess and restored the confessional to its former beauty and true use.

  37. Philomena Mary says:

    This picture is so desperately sad, Father Z.

    I am so blessed that our parish has five hours of confession available today and that our holy priests not only preach on sin and penance but remind parishioners that only baptised Catholics in the state of grace can receive the Holy Eucharist. For our solemn Mass, the queue was such that there were people confessing from half an hour before Mass. I was towards the end of the line, and managed to confess five or ten minutes after the end of Mass, with several people still waiting after me.

  38. APX says:

    1 Clear out the detritus. Put it the Janitor’s closet where it belongs, (or put it in a box in the cry room perhaps, with a sign saying lost and found)

    Nah, put it in a box marked “free” and set out by where the entrance is. It’ll be empty in about 5 minutes.

  39. Jenson71 says:

    And the plastic jack o’lanterns.

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