I have recently become convinced that the Catholic Church should move away from face to face confessions - except in cases of necessity (pilgrimages etc). The attacks on the seal of the Confessional now coming from Australia as well as Ireland are very worrying. Priests may have to go to prison for upholding the seal. One way to avoid this - and I hope the Vatican is thinking about it - is to insist that all confessions remain anonymous and that the option of face to face confession is removed as far as normal practice is concerned.
In recent years and months I have become increasingly uneasy about people coming round the grill to sit with the priest, and I have become slightly uneasy with children's confessions in schools because of the need to have an adult within a reasonable distance (because of safeguarding). To my mind these distractions militate against children and adults making a good open confession and use of the grill would also - in my opinion - allow the priest greater freedom to speak to the penitent about certain matters. If I thought that the seal was under threat in England I would have no hesitation in insisting that all my penitents made their confession behind a grill and a curtain. This sacrament is too precious for us to take unnecessary risks.