Etiquette of confession behind screen


I prefer face to face. I am somehow less nervous and I feel I speak more openly.


@evelynevf, I agree. I remember bringing up something with my spiritual director that I had previously confessed (to him) and his response was basically, “Oh? Tell me about it”'as if he had never heard it from me before. What happened in confession stayed in confession.


Obligatory wisecrack:

Jews don’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
Protestants don’t recognize the authority of the Pope.
Baptists dob’t recognize one another at the liquor store.




I agree. That is the way I feel.


i’ve done both; “face to face” & screened

i prefer neither

confession is a difficult sacrament

i wish i didn’t need it; but, as a sinner; i do…


Of course the priest is likely going to recognize your voice regardless if he is your regular confessor. There is no breach that I know of from what you describe? Anyhow for me there was never any choice in confessions; even going back to grammar and high school (90s and 00s) it was always behind a screen. When I visited Chicago it was very old school with the priest in the confessional and I kneeling outside in view of the congregation but there was still a screen. I was in my late 20s the first time I opened a confessional where there was a choice of a screen or not and I wasn’t sure what I was seeing.


Most of my experiences in Confession (primarily at this church) have been negative, some very deeply so. Nevertheless, the absolution is valid and the graces are remarkable. I like the sacrament very much, though I have rarely appreciated the way it’s administered!


I confess in a different accent and voice if I utilize the screen. Face to face, I wear complex disguises.


I’ve been tempted to try to disguise my voice, but then I feel like I would be making a bit of a mockery out of the sacrament.

It’s hard when every priest in town knows you. But then, at least I have a brother who sounds exactly like me. So the priest can never know for sure… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:



ten characters


I’m intrigued by the use of the screen. I think it would make confession so much easier. My first confession was face to face at the end of a counseling session with a different priest, but the others were in the confessional booth at my church. Our priest is very kind but very fast in absolving…he doesn’t always give me a chance to finish speaking before absolving me, lol. Our confessional booth has a screen but it’s practically transparent…we can easily see each other. It feels face to face inside…definitely a good motivator to keep a pure conscience! Anyway, I’m thinking about trying out confession at some neighboring parishes just to see what they’re like.

Going to confession is like swallowing medicine…hard to do but you feel better afterward. In RCIA we listened to Matt Kelly compare confession to washing your car. Good analogy, but it falls short. Our priest elaborated that confession is an embrace from Jesus. It restores us to our baptismal promises. He was so sweet and loving in describing it…how we are getting hugged by Jesus through the Sacrament.


There are days when I spend more time with Jesus than I do with my husband, so theoretically I have no reason to do anything but look forward to the sacrament. And If I were encountering a recognizable Jesus, I’d be so happy to go face-to-face. But he is perfectly hidden within the confessional at my church; I can only find him in the graces that unfold during the two weeks afterward. When I go to my church, the screen makes confession possible, not just easier! It’s a useful little tool!


The process is the same whether you go face-to-face or anonymously.



I prefer a screen even though I’ve been going to the same confessor for some years. It’s also a burden off the priest - saves him some embarrassment when interacting with me in public and helps him with objectivity in hearing my confession, although maybe only subconsciously. If I’m remembered at all, it’s more like to be as just another sinner wanting to get right with God. What I’ve read and heard is that a lot of priests don’t remember what they heard confessed.

For some priests hearing confessions is a heavy burden and they need our prayers.

my two cents…


Here’s hoping you begin to have some more positive experiences with Confession.

Before we had 2 cars, I used to take the bus downtown to go to confession, regularly. And I started noticing a pattern. Just about always afterward, on my way back to the bus stop, some little delightful thing always happened - I’d have a delightful conversation with a stranger for a few moments, one of my very favorite priests would also be walking along and I’d get to say hello to him, things like that - he is this little guy who when he opens his mouth to preach seems like he’s 7 feet tall, he has this huge voice and he is both eloquent and direct and very orthodox- these things happened often enough to where they were more of just a coincidence.


Oh that’s lovely, thank you for sharing! It’s like graces just sort of followed you out of the confessional. :slight_smile:


Let’s all pray for those who hear our confessions! :pray:


Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.
May the love and peace of Jesus Christ be with you! :pray:


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

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