Bearing Blog has a post up about the architecture of confessionals, which is in turn inspired by a post by Rich Leonardi about the virtues of not having to confess face to face.
If a silver lining of the abuse scandal is that someone gets the 'new' idea of building confessionals with a wall between the priest and penitant and separate doors (so one one can even imagine that impropriety could take place) then that's all to the good.
As Bearing notes, I think that the face-to-face confessional has only accentuated the impression which many Catholics and some priests seem to have that confession is primarily a means of therapy, not salvation.
Alessandro Manzoni, The Betrothed
4 hours ago