Monday, February 19, 2007

Active instrument of divine mercy

Give Confession top priority, Pope asks priests

Vatican, Feb. 19, 2007 (CWNews.com) - At a February 19 meeting with confessors, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) remarked on how the “limitless renovating power of divine love” is realized in the sacrament of Penance.

The Holy Father was speaking to the father-confessors of the Roman basilica and the officials of the Apostolic Penitentiary, led by Cardinal James Stafford. He told them that the priest, as confessor, is an “active instrument of divine mercy.”

The task of the confessor, the Pope said, is to help the penitent “recognize the gravity of sin,” and resolve to avoid sin in the future, while provide “the comfort and consolation of Christ.”

“How many penitents find in confession the peace and joy they were seeking for so long!” the Pope said. He encouraged priests to help the faithful use the sacrament properly. To do so, he said, confessors must learn as much as possible about the background of their people, the problems they face, and the spiritual problems they encounter.

Above all, the Pope continued, “We cannot preach forgiveness and reconciliation to others if we do not experience these things personally.” He encouraged confessors to make frequent use of the sacrament themselves, so that they too have a fuller appreciation for the forgiveness offered by Christ through his priestly ministers.

The sacrament of Penance, the Pontiff concluded, “is a specific ecclesial service to which we must give priority."

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In theory, this is great. Don't think it will happen in practice. People -- priests and laity -- are simply too busy.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if there is more emphasis on the sacrament of confession in the church, there can in turn be more forgiveness in the world at large.

However, I think it's fair to say that hardly anyone goes to confession these days. Perhaps if were no longer face-to-face that would change.

Peace.

7:24 PM  
Blogger rev fr lw gonzales said...

Last Saturday afternoon I heard confessions for one straight hour. Only two were face-to-face.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Anita Moore said...

He encouraged priests to help the faithful use the sacrament properly. To do so, he said, confessors must learn as much as possible about the background of their people, the problems they face, and the spiritual problems they encounter....

Then maybe it's about time we quit shuffling priests around from parish to parish every twenty minutes.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hearing confessions for an hour straight could mean a whole bunch of quick confessions of just three or four in total.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A whole hour? Where I live a parish of 2500 families is provided confession for about forty minutes a week. The pastor considers it a "minor sacrament". It is sometimes necessary to visit a neighboring diocese, crossing a half-dozen parishes to find a priest who's not "too busy" to hear confessions. I one encountered a pastor who cancelled confessions for the final three weeks of Lent..."too much trouble".

1:31 AM  

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