We’re in the Triduum today, but I want to go back to Spy Wednesday. On the heels of my recent post about confession, Melanie and I went to the Salem citywide penance service on Wednesday evening at St. Ann’s parish. The church is a relatively recent building, the previous one having been destroyed by fire in the late 80s or early 90s, and while in a purely architectural sense, it’s a nice building, as a church I’m not enamored. It’s the now typical big square space with little ornamentation and very stark, austere feeling.
One thing that’s a problem with most modern churches is the lack of space for confessions. In old churches you used to have two or even four confessionals available for simultaneous use, but with today’s “reconciliation room” there’s now only one real space for it. So what ends up happing is that you have priests sitting in pews and chairs spread throughout the church. First, if you would prefer the anonymity of a screen, you’re out of luck. Plus, you often have oblivious people walking right by the pews on their way to various places in the church—other priests, the bathroom, the sacristy, etc. There’s the very real danger of someone’s confession being overheard. It’s no wonder people don’t go to confessions anymore. The worst nightmare of the penitent is having his inmost, deepest, most shameful sins being broadcast to others. I would think the seal of the confessional would apply to the venue of the confession as much as to the priest repeating the sins.
Judas the mystery
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