In my new parish, ninety minutes of time with the confessor are offered Saturdays. Then there is an hour of time between the end of individual confessions and the start of Mass. That gap works for a priest who is on duty for Mass, but probably less well for people who are looking to make one weekend visit to a church. It hasn’t discouraged parishioners here, as there always seem to be people waiting during that afternoon.
The frequent complaint here about the option for flexibility in time:
Some parishes excuse themselves from making adequate times for confessions by saying that anyone can “make an appointment” for confession times outside of the small weekly window of opportunity. But anyone who has spent time in or around a rectory can easily see the problem with this.
I’ve spent over thirty years in various places, and made several appointments over the years with clergy for whom I don’t work, so I don’t see any problem.
Meeting a priest at a time outside the scheduled church hours offers greater privacy from the community. Anonymity from a priest is a required option, and an experienced confessor knows how to handle this with either a “regular” he knows by voice (he doesn’t really pay attention) or someone he doesn’t know.
The sacrament isn’t without obstacles. Outside the Church, there is pressure here and there for criminals who have used absolution to give them the illusion of pardon for serial sexual sins. And even inside, there was that case of a conservative Catholic who invented sins and recorded them to “out” a disliked priest.
The best posture all around is trust. Trust that clergy know how to handle themselves. Trust that appointments are a valued addition to a regular schedule, even if one doesn’t utilize them. Trust that penitents are authentic.