Busy day today. First Reconciliation this morning. Thirteen second-graders, plus family. Still out of the church, so our lower lounge, ordinarily the setting for social life and large group catechesis, filled in as a space for worship.
Left, one of four confessor stations.
Catholics devote lots of pen and internet strokes to the orientation of the priest at Mass. I’ve never seen any discussion of the orientation at Penance. The old confessional booth usually finds the priest facing at right angles from the penitent, who is usually oriented toward the confessor.
Outside of the booth and leaving the screen behind, what orientation makes sense? Different priests I’ve worked with have different opinions. One liked to have the chairs facing each other. That is the way the “face-to-face” option is usually set up in the reconciliation chapel upstairs. Other confessors opt for side-by-side.
When we’re in our church, some stations are set up in pews, so the orientation is more the former. Otherwise, I angle the chairs at ninety degree, as imaged here.
Which makes sense given the Catholic understanding of Penance? Would some arrangements, and some clergy attitudes, cloud the action of Christ in the sacrament?