When you go to confession do you go behind the screen or face to face?


#1

And why


#2

I do face to face, but then I also have a regular confessor, confess once a month and make an appointment. My time with the priest (usually 30-45 minutes) includes the sacrament, as well as some spiritual direction.

It would seem weird to do all of this not looking at the person I am talking to.


#3

I go behind the screen, even though my confessor certainly knows it is I. He sees me as he first enters to hear confessions! Still, I take some comfort in the idea of anonymity. On those occasions when a priest has insisted on a face-to-face confession (one time it was a visiting priest and he did not have the keys. I confessed right out in the church in front of God and everyone), I will do so without any qualms. I prefer the screen, though.


#4

It just depends on which priest is there. One of the priests I will sit face-to-face with. I had my first confession with him. I was in RCIA and since it took a while we were face-to-face. After RCIA, he was the priest involved in one of the ministries I joined. I was around him weekly so I just grew to be comfortable around him. The other 3 priests I go behind the screen because I am not comfortable enough with them to sit face-to-face, yet. :slight_smile:


#5

That’s the only way we do it in the Byzantine church, although my last confession was in Father’s office because we didn’t want to leave the kids totally unsupervised while we walked up to the church. It is the way I grew up confessing, so I’m quite used to it, but I can understand how it would be disconcerting to someone who is used to confessing “anonymously”, or at least with some degree of privacy.


#6

I go face-to-face because that’s the way it is done in my Church (Byzantine). I have gone behind the screen when I was at a rather traditional Latin-rite parish and I knew that the priest preferred it, but I prefer face-to-face. I suspect it mostly has to do with how one is raised or what one is used to. To me, it is more personal face-to-face. God has given us this sacrament and we are asked to confess to a human being for a reason. I think that confession face-to-face allows us that personal, human connection that was intended. In the Byzantine Church, absolution is accompanied by a laying on of hands, which is particularly symbolic and meaningful to me (and could not readily be accomplished in an anonymous confession. Confession behind a screen was a rather late development in the history of this sacrament, and was not instituted to provide anonymity. Rather, it was due to concerns about propriety. For a long time, people were required to confess to their own parish priest, which certainly wouldn’t have provided anonymity.


#7

Weren’t all confessions public at first in the early church? The closed, private confession came about later, if I’m remembering my history right.


#8

I like privacy. Confessing still fills me with anxiety and although I’m sure the priest readily identifies me, I like the screen.


#9

I’ve always confessed at churches where they have confessional booths at the back of the church. So it’s technically behind a screen.


#10

Yep


#11

I go behind the screen. It just gives me that sense that I am talking to Christ and not to the priest, and that the priest doesn’t know who I am. Makes it a lot easier.


#12

:thumbsup: Plus it makes it easier to be anonymous, although the priest knows who it is since he sees me when entering the confessional.


#13

In general, I prefer anonymous. It’s easier for me to think I’m speaking directly to Christ when I’m not looking at a human face.

However, I recently went to confession after morning Mass, and since he knew who I was, I figured I would go face to face. If I continue to see the same priest after morning Mass on a regular basis, I may continue face to face.

Just goes to show you can always change your mind. :stuck_out_tongue:


#14

Behind the screen. I work with the priests at various ministries in the parish and am just not comfortable with face to face. They know who I am by voice anyway so I guess I am a fool. I don’t like face to face. He’s in persona Christi, so I don’t see the benefit of the face to face. If I needed a counselor (probably do:D) I would see one of those. Confession is not counseling. (well sort of but not really)

IMO many more people would go if there was not the expectation of sitting person to person with the priest. IMO.


#15

I use the screen, although the priest undoubtably knows who I am (I even swing pop out from the screen after the sacramental forum has been closed sometimes, if there’s some sort of urgent business). It helps me to not worry about whoever’s on the other side, and focus on my own spiritual being during the confession. When the priest offers some counsel, I find that I can focus on what he’s saying better if I’m not watching all his facial expressions and gesticulations.


#16

Face to face.

I have a regular confessor, and go to confession every other week or so. Since I struggle with habitual sins, I find it’s better if the priest knows me and knows them so he has a better idea of how to help me.


#17

I do face to face. That is just always the way ive done it. Even when I was a young child attending confession. That is what im used to and that is what I continue doing now as an adult. I have tried to attend behind the screen before and for some strange reason I feel like im hiding which did make my temptation to hide my sins feel so much stronger. There have been many times during confession when ive been tempted to hide my sins and I feel like when I can sit in front of the priest face to face I have more courage to confess my hard sins and not hide them.


#18

Our parish has confessional booths. In theory, face to face would be possible; in practice it is not done. During normal confession times (30 minutes each weekday and 1 hour on Saturdays) confession is anonymous and in the confessional. It’s also a good idea to arrive early to ensure not missing out, as the Mass must start 30 minutes after the confessions begin on weekdays. Of course, one can also make an appointment. In my experience, anonymous confession also has the advantage of being somewhat quicker, so that more penitents can be heard.


#19

I do face to face. However, my confessor and I both shut our eyes. This began because he was shutting his eyes…seems like it makes things easier for him as he gets into a very prayerful state.

I also sometimes go to our other priest. I used to look at him directly, but now that I am used to having my eyes shut, I started confessing that way with him too. Confession has become more prayerful for me as well…like I am speaking to God rather than the priest.


#20

I like the screen mostly because I’d rather kneel during absolution seeing how this is the essence of my salvation.


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