Religion: Out of the Box

Confession now in Room of Reconciliation. This provides both the traditional approach or face-to-face confession with the priest. The choice is yours.

So reads a hand-printed sign in St. Paschal's Roman Catholic Church in Oakland, Calif. Similar notices have appeared—or soon will—in Catholic churches in the U.S. and round the world. They herald a quiet but significant revolution for Catholics, who will henceforth be allowed to choose between old-fashioned anonymous confession and the new face-to-face-style sacrament. While it will remain an option, as will the modified form of a screen set in an open room, the traditional cramped confessional box could gradually...

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