An addition to the previous post.
When I was an assistant priest in St Leonards on Sea, there was another priest, who used to welcome penitents at the confessional shake their hands warmly enquire about their health, ask their names, all designed to put them at their ease.
One day a woman came into the the Church wearing a motorcycle helmet with the visor down. The priest stood at the confessional door, greeted her warmly, shook her hand and invited to remove the helmet, she refused saying she wanted to have her right to anonymity preserved.
From then on the priest stayed inside the confessional behind the grill.
I must say when I go to confession I want three things, to be able to confess my sins without interruption, to receive a penance and absolution. Confession is not about counselling, nor even about spiritual direction. It is simply about receiving forgiveness. Sometimes it is about confessing the same old sin over and over again, and receiving the same old forgiveness over and over again.
Same old sinner: same old God, same old sin: same old forgiveness.
There is one thing I want from a confessor, which is that he should make me want to come back and seek God's forgiveness again and again. The thing that puts me off is a long sermon, even if it is encouraging, just want to just confess and go, which is I think, what most penitents want.
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