church history ?

When did the Catholic church begin using the confessional booth? Where can I learn more about the history/evolution of confession within the church? :slight_smile:

Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession by Scott Hahn is a great place to start. IIRC the original confession was in front of the whole congregation. As time went by confession was moved into private for both practical and personal reasons. I believe the “booth” started in Ireland.


Thanks Steve for the wonderful book reference. Those are some interesting facts you mention. I didn’t know that early church confessions were done openly. Could that be the origin of the Penitential Rite we say in mass today? :slight_smile:

I would imagine so, but I am no theologian!:smiley:


The Penitential Rite and private sacramental confession are two entirely different things.

The Penitential Rite developed from the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, which were originally said in the sacristy before Mass.

In the Byzantine tradition, confessions are still heard out in the main part of the Church before the Iconostasion.

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