Can a priest choose to only hear confessions behind the screen or must he always provide the face to face option? Cannon 964 didnt really help me answer this question. it only says it is desirable to have both options available to the penitent. there are good reasons for letting the penitent choose, but there are also good reasons for not having the priest see the penitent so that he wont be prejudiced by their appearance or tempted to recognize or remember them. Can the priest protect himself in this way?
Ordinarily the pastor should provide the faithful with the option of going to Confession face to face or anonymously. However, the individual priest is allowd to hear Confessions anonymously for his own reasons.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.