Confession, face to face or not?

I starting going to Confession face to face about 12 years ago at my current parish. A new priest told me he doesn’t do face to face. I said OK and said it behind the screen.

By going face to face, am I not doing Confession correctly? I prefer face to face because I think it’s helping me fight my pride.

I am aware that Confession in the past had been totally open, that is you would say your sins in front of other people.

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I prefer confession face-to-face, but because of availability issues I rarely ever do. There’s nothing wrong with either one.

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Either way is fine…it doesn’t affect the validity of your confession. I was used to doing it face to face up until I went to college, where the confessionals only allowed for confession behind the screen. That was a new and weird experience. I don’t really mind either way, but tend to go face to face if it’s available.

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Given a choice, I will almost always pick the screen, but my best experiences in the confessional have always been face-to-face. I have to remind myself that I should be less worried about what the priest might think of me and more concerned with what God thinks. Anyway, most priests are great.

But, yes, both forms are acceptable. On the other hand, I don’t know of any rule requiring the priest to let penitents sit face-to-face if he prefers to hear it from behind a screen.

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I do face-to-face at our parish, because Father and I are friends, and when I go out to the OLAM Shrine, I use the confessional, because that’s the only option there. I’m comfortable either way.

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It is a valid Confession either way. My Parish offers both.

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@irishcolleen45,
Either way is perfectly valid. The screen should be available to all penitents but the priest may opt not to offer face-to-face confessions.

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I prefer face to face. My first time I was extremely nervous but the priest was so kind I was glad I went face to face. Now that’s all I do unless it’s not available.

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Though I have never confessed my sins in front of others, I have gone to Confession face to face. I rather prefer that because I believe that the moment I say “Bless me father for I have sinned " Jesus is either in the confessional with the priest or next to him when I have a face to face.in fact I say 'Jesus I know you are using the priest as Your instrument and You are now Yourself hearing my confession”. Either way you go to confession is alright. Is the new priest in your parish an older priest? He may just be set in his ways of hearing confession… Take care and God Bless.

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He’s a young priest, very traditionalist and very personable.

It was an older priest who started me with face to face.

God Bless.

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Yes , you are in Reconcilliation correctly if you choose face to face or behind a screen

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Children should absolutely not go to face to face confession, as is dictated by common sense, and as is evidenced by Father Lawrence Murphy in Milwaukee and other priests, who molested children in confessionals.

There was no such as thing as face to face confession prior to Vatican II, and considering the gravity of the information above, it would have certainly been better if confessionals had remained traditional.

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Of course there was face-to-face confession prior to Vatican II. We have an ancient and widespread church with many, many traditions. The screen didn’t come to be until the 1500s and is still unknown in the East.

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I prefer to use the screen, and I think we will see some dioceses start to mandate or strongly encourage anonymous confessions over the next decade or two due to possible laws encroaching on the sanctity of the confessional (e.g., Australia).

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Millions of children, I’m sure, have gone to Confession face-to-face and have not had that happen. It’s not the norm. Still, at our parish there are now small, essentially soundproof windows on each confessional door. Everything is situated so that the penitent can be seen from the window, whether the penitent opts for face-to-face or behind-the-screen confession.

This also could prevent awkward “walk-ins” if there happened to be no line for a confessional (a rarity) and the priest forgot to change the light on the door to red (this happens sometimes).

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Confession is valid either way. Remember that the sacrament used to be something very public- in the middle of the church, I believe, where everyone could see and hear. Our modern, private, face to face confessions are no less valid than the ancient public ones, and the same applies to private screen confessions.

I have only ever done face to face, so that’s what I’m used to. I think I would prefer it over the screen, if I ever tried it.

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I use the screen because it helps remind me that I am confessing and receiving absolution from Christ himself.

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I like the ritual of the screen. It just makes it more otherworldly and sacred for me, for no reason in particular.

I’d be too nervous to confess face to face (I’m nervous enough as it is behind the screen), but a lot of parishes I’ve visited offer both, though.

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There used to be a priest at my old parish who used to sit on the opposite side where the penitent usually sat to make the person do face to face. It always made me extremely uncomfortable because I’m pretty darn shy as it is. I wouldn’t look him in the eye because of my shyness and he again made me feel twice as uncomfortable by asking if I was hiding something because I wasn’t looking at him. I really hope my new confessor allows me to use the screen.

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Confessions haven’t been public since about the 16th century.

Either face-to-face or behind the screen is acceptable. If your priest won’t do the way you prefer, you can feel free to go to another priest (and I certainly would because I think it’s wrong for the priest not to offer Catholics all the options permitted by the Church).

Edited to add, I normally do behind the screen because I’m shy and I do not do well with my anxiety when I have to make eye contact with a priest during my confession. I have gone face-to-face when it was the only option available, such as at Easter time when they bring in many priests and don’t have enough confessionals or rooms, but I generally don’t like it and a couple of times it’s triggered my anxiety into an attack.

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