You said it, CJ! AMEN!!!
My parish remodeled the confessionals some years ago when the church was remodeled. The confessionals are not dark! They are well lit and relatively spacious; a penitent can kneel or sit. And the priest is in a separate adjoining room. No windows.
I reached the age of reason in 1960 and like all the kids my age I went to confession in one of those three-part compartment confessionals. The penitent sections had no doors but heavy red curtains. During the school year we did it once a month with the kids in our class. In the summer Mom & Dad took us to confession on Saturday afternoon, usually at the end of going shopping for groceries.
It was less intimidating than face-to-face if you ask me. I can’t recall the last time I went to confession in one of those, though. Most parishes I’ve attended have opted for Reconciliation Rooms. At least in our Reconciliation Room there is an option to confess behind a screen, one I’m thankful for.
I think that people will vary widely on this and I, for one, am glad that the Church gives options to fit every preference.
I would imagine that you can find a good number of ex-Catholics in your age range who will go on at length about how traumatic the confessional experience was. It probably contributed no small amount to some of them leaving the Church.
I am a bit more than a decade younger than you and I strongly prefer face-to-face confession. Even at my age, I am intimidated by a confessional and if I have no other choice but to use one, I have to talk myself into it. I’ve had no traumatic experiences in confession, I’m not afraid of the dark, and I’m not claustrophobic, but I do not like confession behind a screen at all.
No changes, but the screen in ours is situated such that the priest sees you as soon as you walk in the door anyway. I don’t mind going face to face, but I have wondered how others might feel about this.
I’ve always thought confession should be kept as private as possible. While some people might not care about openly saying their sins to a priest sitting in a semi-remote pew at Church there are others who will not go to confession unless there is some guarantee of privacy.
Many confessionals not only put covers to hide the penitents faces but also cover the windows from the confessional so that the priest cannot directly see anyone leaving the confessional. It should be built to inspire people to go to confession with confidence and within reasonable privacy.
I think that removing the battery is safer than merely turning it off. Lol! Consider it abstinence as opposed to NFP!
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