Rorate Caeli

Glass Walled Confessionals!

This is lifted from Ipsissima Verba, a well-run blog whose organizer has a knack for finding stuff like this. It is loopy beyond words. It also makes one wonder: if you were a particularly "vibrant" bishop, manfully engaged in constructive dialogue with the modern world, who had concluded that the sacrament of confession was demeaning, insulting, and superfluous to the magnificent creature -- modern man -- who bestrides the world like a colossus, yet possesses a psyche of marshmallow delicacy, how would you go about rescuing his precious noodle from the trauma and humiliation of seeking the forgiveness of the Savior?
Well, you might use the cover of concern with sexual abuse of minors by priests to float the following Toy of the Vibrant: the glass-walled confessional!
The Catholic Church in Derry is to bring a whole new meaning to the saying "Be seen and not heard" after it revealed new glass fronted confessional boxes could replace the traditional booths under strict new guidelines aimed at dealing with the issue of child sex abuse.

The surprising move is just one of a number of visible changes that could come out of the document "Our Children, Our Church", a new report launched by the Church earlier this week.

The guidelines in the report aim to protect children in the Church and have been described as 'robust' by Fr. Michael Canny, press officer of the Derry Diocese and Administrator of St. Eugene's Cathedral.

He said the main priority was to make sure young people were no longer exposed to any risk.
And as part of this, Fr. Canny said he envisaged a time in the future when confessional boxes across the Diocese will be see through.

"As a result of the new guidelines, the confessional boxes will have to be redesigned so that they are more open and people can see in and people can see out," said Fr. Canny.
Maybe my paranoia is getting the better of me. But I can't help wondering how one could better discredit a sacrament with which a great many Catholics already feel uncomfortable, than by turning it into an exhibitionistic stunt. After all, the idea of a priest abusing anyone in the confessional, even the stylish new "reconciliation rooms" [apparently now somewhat retro], with family members right outside, is rather outlandish to begin with.
So what's the rest of the story?


  1. Ah, but reconciliation rooms could be used for abuse if it is an open, soundproofed space. The answer isn't glass, its to go back to the previous practice. Father is in one booth, and the penitent confesses from another booth through a grille. Absolutely no chance for abuse. Glass confessional booth? What about lip readers?

  2. I've been hunting around the net in the hope of finding something that rules out such a structure, but it seems the bishops' conferences are at liberty to set requirements for confessionals as they see fit.


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!