Glass Confessionals

[INDENT]*“The location of reconciliation rooms is to be in a high traffic area of the church building. Any new construction or renovation of reconciliation rooms is to provide for clear glass openings.” *
*- *A Save Environment Policy for the Diocese of London (Ontario)
[/INDENT]Is this allowed? Having class windows outside of confessionals doesn’t seem to respect one’s privacy.

The full policy:

I don’t think one is entitled to have it be secret that one is confessing. It is only the sins themselves that must be kept confidential by the priest.

I will agree that glass doors to do not contribute to the feeling of privacy. But they don’t eliminate privacy.

Maybe they just need to go back to building traditional confessionals and ditch the reconcilation “rooms”. Our parish retrofitted an old confessional to allow for face-to-face (which I prefer) confessions. One side has the screen and the kneeler. The other side has a chair, but is still separated from the priest by a wall that goes about 3 feet high. I bet it wouldn’t be too hard to accomodate people’s preferences (face to face or screen) within the same space.

How about this one:

  1. One-on-one private meetings with adults are to be conducted in a space with clear glass openings.

If I’m going to ask a priest to help me with a problem, then I don’t need it to be in a space with “clear glass openings”. I think this will give people who are already uncomfortable with going to confession or asking for counseling another reason NOT to do so.

I’m assuming this is not an ecclesiastical or architectual decision, but rather a response to the abuse issue – protection from both a predator and from false accusations? A sad commentary on our times . . .

Exactly! We have a church near us that did the glass walled confessionals as part of a remodel. Where previously they had standard confessionals (with a curtain instead of a screen so you could open it if you wanted F2F) with lines so long they never got done before the Sat. evening Mass; they now rarely have more than a few people in line. :frowning:

Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I frequently “cry” during confession, and I don’t wish to cry where others can see me. Why not have the old confessionals and the new, and allow people to choose which one they prefer? Why not just have a drive up window, where you never leave the safety of your car??? I think this is getting way out of hand.

Yep. Apparently even traditional confessionals, small as they are, rightly or wrongly have been associated with abuse and/or false accusations.

Someone from there should know - at the height of the abuse crisis, didn’t the Diocese of Dallas mandate class-walled confessionals?

The confessionals at my parish church provide privacy, and the penitent’s and the priest’s ‘boxes’ are separated by walls that go to the ceiling. There is no physical access between priest and penitent. Glass walls would do nothing except detract from privacy.

Funny, but sad, too. :shrug:
It HAS gotten out of hand.

I am a physician and would never see a child alone in my office with a parent present, obviously though, this cannot be done in a confessional.
In this day and age of false accusations by children (and adults) I think that priests are wise to insist on the visibility that glass in the door of a confessional affords.
It is not all about our likes and dislikes. Priests need to be able to protect themselves from false accusations. This happens more frequently than most of us know and can be devastating to the priest.

At my parish we have it set up pretty nice. We have a fogged glass window on the Confessional, it has a kneeler and a screen. You can silouttes of all people on the inside but not who they actually are. This confessional can be used if a parishioner does not feel comfertable in our traditional confessional. It is the only one used for confession for the students at the Parochial School.

It seems to be a good solution. Much better then any of the parishes near me have come up with. One parish near me just has a nealer with a screen and a chair on the other side in the “quiet room” for crying children.

Don’t throw stones in glass confessionals.

Even if they were left for you in the holy water font during Lent.


in most of the world confession even in traditional churches and cathedrals is in the open, in carrels or booths where both confessor and penitent are visible, or even just kneeling on the stone floor of the church, or the penitent and priest together at the foot of the altar as in orthodox churches. in these places custom and tradition keep those waiting for confession a decent distance away so nothing is overheard (and I suspect acoustics in those older churches mitigated the problem).

so theoretically there should be no objection to glass confessionals, but it is a bit weird that if you go behind a screen the priest can’t see you, but everyone else can.

I think that must be why it strikes me as so strange. It’s just the weirdness factor. I have no problem going to confession out in the open with the priest in the sanctuary and people all around. But a glass confessional?? It’s just strange.

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