The Time has Come to Ban Reconciliation Rooms


Very well argued article against the reconciliation rooms.


I say, “No to banning!”. I am disabled and in a wheelchair. You can not fit in a traditional confessional. Our parish renovated 2 years ago and put in a reconciliation room that I do not fit in. It is a problem that the Church has no ministries available to the disabled and no someone wants to ban us from a sacrament based on this article.


there is no reason why new confessionals cannot be wheel chair accessible. I’ve seen them in some new churches.


A bit of an overreaction I think.


I like anonymity, but some folks really like the sense of connection to their confessor.
I don’t want to take that from them


I Like the idea of the way it use to be done. I’d rather not meet face to face for a number of reasons.
Embarassment is one, but another is not having to see the priest and know that he knows things about you. I think it’s better if no one saw who is who. It’s less of a distraction for both parties.


I don’t like the idea of confession rooms anyway. I wouldn’t mind getting rid of them.


Well, there is no room in my church. You do realize that the average house or apartment restroom does not have room for a wheelchair. I barely fit in my kitchen. I do not know where you see these new confessionals. I checked with the dioceses and they did say that none of the parishes are built to allow wheelchairs to use confessional. Yes, our diocese does have a committee for the disabled. We just spent 5 million dollars and adding more money will not make it better for everyone. The ADA office in our area gave their approval for the remodel. None of the restrooms allow a wheelchair in them. It was approved by a non-wheelchair user.People complain about the lack of communion rails because they took them out for the disabled. You would be surprised by what bothers the average Catholic. Please try to understand what it is like for someone who is disabled.


Yup. Another day and more knee jerk reactions.


Eastern Rites have face to face without using reconcilliation rooms, so it is possible.


I don’t understand why people keep arguing that whatever their preference is should become the rule for everyone. Someone doesn’t like face-to-face confession and rather than choosing to stay anonymous when they go to confession, they try to impose it in everyone.


Ours is a very nice confession room and I say leave it alone. I can’t stand to go into a hot, very small, claustrophobic confessional that really is too small. I know those were the norms but they really need to add a little bit of space.


Yes! Tear them all out, as traditional confessionals were all those years ago. Face-to-face confession as often seen today is untraditional and helps perpetuate myths about confession and God’s mercy. Not, of course, to be uncharitable of those who ‘do it’ this way, however. The onus for change is on the Church, not mere laymen.


I prefer face to face confession. I deal with one main Confessor, and it makes it much easier.


I saw one in a new church building in Long Island, NY.

It was very similar to a reconciliation room, but the priest entered though a different door and there was a wall with a screen (which I think could be opened) separating the two. For the confessee, there was a kneeler and a chair, plus room for a wheelchair.

Plus, all doors were see-though glass so if anything was going on, you could see right away.

I think they did an awesome job with the new church building, which was constructed a couple years ago.


Goodness. If face to face confession is “wrong” and “untraditional” I wonder what those early Christians were doing having public’s confession…


I wouldn’t call it “well argued” at all. In his 900-word article, Bootsma makes just one single point, that placing a priest and a penitent together in a closed room affords an opportunity for sexual abuse that the confessional box doesn’t.

The only other “argument” he presents is this one: “I have found through experience that confessionals in this traditional configuration, with separation between priest and penitent, providing kneelers for penitents, and separate entrances, not only works practically to prevent even the suggestion of impropriety in the confessional, but is spiritually rewarding as well.”

He is an architect. What “experience” can he have had, as an architect, that might enable him to state that one arrangement is more “spiritually rewarding” than the other? He hasn’t had a priest’s experience. Presumably he has had a penitent’s experience, but his professional experience as an architect lends no special weight to his spiritual experience as a penitent. He is simply stating a personal preference, and no more than that.


Modern confessionals are not hot, small and claustrophobic. The new ones are exactly like the confession room, except the priest is on the other side of a wall with a separate door.


Antiquarianism is never the solution. ‘Behind the screen’ hasn’t always been the norm, but neither has ‘looking into one another’s eyes.’ It tends toward the diminishment of the authority of the priest over the penitent.


I don’t want see through glass. No way.

I hardly think people are in danger. Priests aren’t bears. They aren’t going to gore you if there isn’t a physical barrier separating you.

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