Been in a good confessional?


I just wrote a rant about confessionals where I can’t take the assumption of privacy for granted.

A local church has a room with a big thick oak door, but there’s a gap under the door. Even the priest told me to lower my voice, because he knew that people just a few feet away can overhear the penitent.

So, have you been in a good, private confessional or not?


In my church, the confessional is in a chamber. Only the priest and penitent enters. Othersvstand outsude waiting.


Can you give me a little more? What’s a chamber? Like an air lock?


I once went to confession and there was only a curtain. They were playing sacred music, and the priest kept trying to talk above the music and kept telling me to talk louder. People were lined up right outside of the curtain. UGH. I now go to confession at a church where there is a solid door and people in line really can’t hear anything other than a muffled sound.

Where is this rant you wrote?


I remember an old church of mine where I would speak quietly and the priest kept saying he couldn’t hear me so I had to speak louder.

It is also awkward when you are waiting to go in and you can hear the lay person bellowing in the confessional.

The church I grew up in there was no wall or curtain or anything, face to face like you were in an interview.


At my parish we have a confessional room with a white noise machine outside. You can hear the penitent rarely, usually when someone gets nervous and starts talking loudly.


Our parish used to have confessionals like this, with the penitent separated from the outside only by a curtain. For the most part, it was still pretty private because the line kept its distance. But once I was in the confessional behind the curtain, while there was a wedding rehearsal just ending, with people milling around. It was crazy.

When we remodeled the church, the confessionals were also remodeled to provide privacy. Each side of the confessional is enclosed, and with a solid door. The priest’s room in the middle is also soundproofed. The priest can only hear the penitent when he opens the sliding grate door between them. The rooms are well lit and not cramped. It’s a great improvement.


Sorry for the late reply.

It is in a room that is big enough. The entrance is on one end and the priest sits in the other end. There is a wall between the confession line and confession, yes. Not a word can be heard, even if you speak as loud as in a normal conversation.


Lots of older confessionals don’t have doors, only curtains, on the penitent’s side.

Some have sides that are completely open and only the priest is enclosed.

Can they just put up a sign that says “Confession line starts here” and put it well back from the door?


At least you’re not being asked to carry a ten-pound taper to the nearest shrine as penance. I’d go to confession over a loudspeaker to get the dung off my soul. :eek:


I’d go to confession over a loudspeaker to get the dung off my soul. :eek:

Me too.


Excellent point!


Sorry, but there have been sins I’ve committed that I’d really rather not have the priest hear much less anyone else hear.

That being said, the confessionals usually used in our churches are rooms with solid doors. Still, I have super-sensitive hearing and can often hear mumbling from within the room of the church I frequent the most, sometimes actual words. Fortunately, the line of penitents lines up about ten feet from the door, a safe distance for most people. I am very soft-spoken and don’t worry about being overheard.


Sounds great!

I wonder if I would sin less knowing I would have to do this?



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit