Pope receives group of confessor priests at the Vatican

Pope Francis received a group of confessors in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall and addressed a few words to them on the importance of the sacrament of Penance

Newsroom (March 29, 2022, 10:55 PM, Gaudium Press) The Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary holds an annual course for confessors on the internal forum.

On Friday, March 25, Pope Francis received the participants of this year’s course in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican.

Importance of the Sacrament of Penance

Francis addressed the nearly 800 clergy and praised their presence and the interest they give to the sacrament of confession. A sacrament whose supernatural importance is misunderstood and even denied by many.

“Confession is a dialogue. And to reduce the dialogue to three or four psychological advices to continue… is to take away the essential of the sacrament,” Francis said.

The Pope advised all confessor priests this Lent to read the Note on the Internal Forum and the Inviolability of the Confessional Secrecy published by the Apostolic Penitentiary in 2019.

“Spiritual ecology”

According to the Pontiff, the document addresses aspects of current affairs and reveals the importance of the ministry of Reconciliation “which makes visible and realizes the mercy of God.”

Francis explained that forgiveness is to a certain extent a right of the human being. It is a right to the extent that the person is willing to accept it with a humble and repentant heart.

Addressing confessors, Francis said that confessors contribute to the healing of the world and people through the sacrament of penance. “We contribute, if I may say so, to a ‘spiritual ecology of the world,'” the Pope explained.

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Welcoming, listening and accompanying

Next, Francis proposed three words for reflection: welcome, listen and accompany. Welcoming must be one of the characteristics of the confessor, for he helps the penitent to approach Grace. On ‘listening,’ Francis explained that it is done with the soul and the spirit.

Finally, ‘accompanying’ refers to accompaniment done with charity and which helps the penitent to arrive at the recognition of the truth and the will of God. (FM)

With information from Vatican News.

Compiled by Zephania Gangl

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