Why do people sit so close to the confessional?

Does this happen at other parishes?

I took one of my teens to confession at another parish, since we know our priest fairly well, and he wanted to be anonymous. The church was small, and I sat down in the back to wait for him. I could CLEARLY hear the priest saying the words of absolution from my spot in the back. Who knows what the two women in the front pews - feet from the confessional - heard! Why do people(who are clearly not waiting for confession) sit so close to the confessional? It was 45 minutes before Mass, there were tons of other seats available.

I used to see this at my own parish. A half dozen people - none waiting for confession - sitting in close proximity to the confessional nearly an hour before Mass. They are no longer there. I asked my priest once if he said something to them, but he denied it. I do know that when he is in the confessional, he kicks on the A/C fans which are located above the confessional and provide a good grade of white noise that pretty effectively drowns out the conversation from inside.

This use to bug me and I finally let it go. I don’t care what people hear when I am in confession. I am there with God. Nothing else matters for me.

I do hear mumblings when I am waiting and if I can make out words I see a prayer. The absolution is recognizable by its tone that even if you were standing a few pews back you could still make it out. Maybe those ladies were praying for your son or for sinners everywhere.

There’s lots of holy souls in heaven and purgatory listening to you…I wouldn’t mind the handful seated too close to the confessional :slight_smile:

After all, even if they were to catch a glimpse of a confession, they’d be immediately bound by the Sacramental Seal under pain of automatic excommunication reserved to the Holy See :wink:

When I see that in my church, I just assume they already came out of the confessional and used the closest pews to do their penance or came with others and are just waiting for them to be done.

One time I was in confession at a discernment weekend at the seminary, and I walked into the confessional and started the sacrament and the priest told me to be a little quieter since the confessional wasn’t sound proof. I then was quieter and it went fine. I’m not worried about people hearing my confession, but if you see people sitting close, just be quieter and if you want, tell the priest why you are being quieter. I’m sure the priest would understand.

that’s probably what it is. I highly doubt anyone is trying to listen in on a stranger’s confession. I did once walk in on a lady who was creeping really close to the door of the confessional at my old parish. As soon a she saw me looking at her, she walked past and sat down. Then I noticed a teenage girl come out and I bet it was her daughter and she was trying to find out what she’d done.

at the parishes I go to they have actually confession rooms and you dannot hear anyone inside so luckily i have not had to deal with that

I think the question in this case is more like “Why do some priests talk so loud in the confessional?”

I’ve been in similar situations where, from where I was standing in line, I could hear every word the priest was speaking , but not the penitent. Nevertheless, it was embarrassing to be in earshot of something that is supposed to be private.

No matter how much one tries to ignore it, short of plugging one’s ears, there’s nothing that can be done about except to notify the priest. I’ve done that on occasion by simply saying “I know you are unaware of this, but people can hear your every word outside of the confessional”. In each case the priest thanked me for the feedback, and toned it down.

I know a parish with some thin walls and they turn on a white noise maker (that some people use to help them sleep) just outside the confessional. :o

Since I sin so rarely I HAVE to sit close enough to hear other people’s sins. That way I can come up with a few of my own.:D:D

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