I was reading this article about a reporter who, so-to-speak, turned the tables on the privacy of confession by posing as a penitent individual and lying about sins like abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, etc. You know, all those topics that magazines like his hate about the catholic church. And, the Vatican is angry. Well, to be honest, I'm angry too.
The value of this sacrament has been lost in the past 40 years and this only demeans it that much more. The fact that priests give varying advice points more to the weaknesses in seminary education and the stubborness of priests than on any supposed difficulties priests face. Priests don't face difficulties if they know and preach the gospel. The difficulties we have come when we preach more about our own issues than about the gospel.
I presuppose that when someone comes into the confessional, it's someone who is hurting that needs to know 1. God forgives them 2. God welcomes them back and 3. They can turn away from past sins and learn to do God's will. I'm disguested by the thought that someone who isn't hurting would waste a priest's time for the sake of some sick sociological study. To paraphrase a line from Jesus Christ Superstar, "People who are hurting matter more than your publicity."