Read an Interview with Matthew, the owner of CathInfo

Author Topic: Old-Style Confessional  (Read 3608 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Dolores

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1057
  • Reputation: +531/-34
  • Gender: Female
Old-Style Confessional
« on: September 26, 2015, 08:20:43 PM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Oftentimes, in older churches, one will see confessionals of this design:



    The center door is marked for the priest, and the doors on the left and right are marked for penitents.

    In all my years of going to Confession, I have never seen both "penitent" doors being used.  When the time for Confession begins, the first person in line will go in one of the two doors, and everyone lines up behind him, and goes one at a time, with the other side being unused.  I've even been to a church where the second side was used as a storage closet.

    Was there ever a time in the Church where a single priest would hear two Confessional simultaneously?  If not, what is the purpose of this design?

    Offline nipr

    • Jr. Member
    • **
    • Posts: 151
    • Reputation: +237/-1
    Old-Style Confessional
    « Reply #1 on: September 26, 2015, 10:30:58 PM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Sure we used both sides simultaneously.  It made confessions go more quickly, and there were a lot more people in line for confession.  Above the side doors was a light.  Red meant someone was in there; green meant it was unoccupied.  So we'd line up for confession and go in whichever side was empty when we got to the head of the line.  We'd see the person before us come out (if there had been someone there).  If no one was in line, we'd choose which side we liked--as long as the light was green--and go in there.

    On the inside there was a sliding panel which the priest would close so you couldn't hear the confession of the person on the other side or the priest's words to him/her.  If you could hear, you were supposed to put your fingers in your ears, but this happened seldom, at least to me.  When the other penitent was finished, the priest would slide the panel away from the screen on your side and you'd begin your confession.  When done, he'd slide the panel back in so you couldn't see him anymore and the next person, who had been kneeling, waiting for his/her panel to be moved, would begin to confess.

    I fondly remember a very devout priest who used to help out our parish on Saturdays for confessions and then on Sundays for Masses.  Sometimes I was the only one to confess, so often I'd go in the confessional and there would be a light on over his head and I'd see him sitting there saying his Office.  I had to wait until he finished before he'd turn off the light and tell me to begin to confess.  He never looked at me.  Just kneeling there, watching him pray--I cannot describe what it did for me, for others.  It just helped us become recollected and more serious when we confessed. We all loved that priest so much.  After Vatican II he was sent away.  No one knew where.  


    Offline Nadir

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 5932
    • Reputation: +3268/-189
    • Gender: Female
    Old-Style Confessional
    « Reply #2 on: September 27, 2015, 12:27:40 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • When I was a child and in my teens, it was exactly as nipr describes.


    Offline Neil Obstat

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 18156
    • Reputation: +8248/-633
    • Gender: Male
    Old-Style Confessional
    « Reply #3 on: September 27, 2015, 12:41:57 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • .

    In Boston there is a shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a very beautiful church with about 10 confessionals like the one pictured in the OP, and a friend told me that sometimes they have a mission when several of these confessionals are active.  In years past, they used to fill them all during such missions.

    http://www.bostonsbasilica.com/photo-galleries/#.VgeCLitRqzk



    At Arcadia SSPX (CA) they have two built-in confessionals with two penitents doors and a light above each door, so after each person leaves, the priest can immediately begin with the person in the other confessional, and he doesn't have to wait for the person just finished to leave and someone else to take the place, because the leaving and coming in happens while the other side is being used.

    .
    .--. .-.-.- ... .-.-.- ..-. --- .-. - .... . -.- .. -. --. -.. --- -- --..-- - .... . .--. --- .-- . .-. .- -. -.. -....- -....- .--- ..- ... - -.- .. -.. -.. .. -. --. .-.-.

    Offline Neil Obstat

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 18156
    • Reputation: +8248/-633
    • Gender: Male
    Old-Style Confessional
    « Reply #4 on: September 27, 2015, 12:57:15 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • .

    I have known carpenters who worked for contractors in Los Angeles doing renovation work and some of it entailed refurbishing old confessionals to eliminate the second side, either to give the priest more room or to make it into one room where the penitent has the option of face-to-face seating (not kneeling), or else turn it into a broom closet.  One church comes to mind where they used the niche space in the wall to make a new spot for the tabernacle, 40 feet away from the altar.  I know of one such carpenter who quit that contractor because he didn't want to tear out traditional confessionals anymore.

    In the so-called cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, built by Roger Cardinal Mahony, the confessionals are like an office with a desk like thing inside, and they include a back door.  On a tour I asked why the back door was there and they said it was for emergencies.  I couldn't help but imagine that it could be used for other purposes.

    .
    .--. .-.-.- ... .-.-.- ..-. --- .-. - .... . -.- .. -. --. -.. --- -- --..-- - .... . .--. --- .-- . .-. .- -. -.. -....- -....- .--- ..- ... - -.- .. -.. -.. .. -. --. .-.-.


    Offline Neil Obstat

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 18156
    • Reputation: +8248/-633
    • Gender: Male
    Old-Style Confessional
    « Reply #5 on: September 27, 2015, 01:09:33 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • .

    Here's a picture of the Boston Basilica that shows 7 of the confessionals from a distance:



    .
    .--. .-.-.- ... .-.-.- ..-. --- .-. - .... . -.- .. -. --. -.. --- -- --..-- - .... . .--. --- .-- . .-. .- -. -.. -....- -....- .--- ..- ... - -.- .. -.. -.. .. -. --. .-.-.

    Offline Lighthouse

    • Full Member
    • ***
    • Posts: 864
    • Reputation: +575/-25
    • Gender: Male
    Old-Style Confessional
    « Reply #6 on: September 27, 2015, 06:38:35 PM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • I don't think I've seen one without two sides. As a child the screen on the other side could be heard rolling down. When the screen on my side started to come up I would panic until the usually kind priest made me realize that I wasn't going to Hell that very afternoon.

    Offline RomanCatholic1953

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 5964
    • Reputation: +2115/-48
    • Gender: Male
    Old-Style Confessional
    « Reply #7 on: September 27, 2015, 08:02:28 PM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • It so sad that some old confessional booths ended up either on display
    to be mocked and telephone booths in the Spaghetti factories. Ones
    I know are in Dallas and in Houston.


    Offline RomanCatholic1953

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 5964
    • Reputation: +2115/-48
    • Gender: Male
    Old-Style Confessional
    « Reply #8 on: September 27, 2015, 10:23:31 PM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Look at the confessionals in Holy Name Cathedral circa 1958.

    The interior of the Cathedral does not look like that now.

     

    Sitemap 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16