Skip to comments.Pope Francis: confession is not condemnation, but mercy
Posted on 03/29/2014 5:37:49 AM PDT by NYer
.- In a speech given to priests and seminarians attending a course on the Sacrament of Confession, Pope Francis spoke about the mercy of God, stating that it is the most important aspect of their ministry.
“Confession is not a court of condemnation, but an experience of forgiveness and mercy!” the Pope expressed in his March 28 speech to those attending the annual Course on the Internal Forum.
The Internal Forum part of the Apostolic Penitentiary, which is one of the three tribunals of the Roman Curia and is responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins in the Catholic Church, particularly sins involving some types of grave matter which require a special form of absolution that only certain priests can administer.
Lasting for four days, the conference is held every year in Rome and is attended by around 500 seminarians in the third year of studies as well as various priests who wish to participate. It is designed to educate attendees on the Canon law regarding Confession, as well as what the Internal Forum does.
Highlighting how the Apostolic Penitentiary is one of the oldest offices of the Church as well as the importance of having well-formed confessors, the Pope thanked participants for their “valuable service” and encouraged them “to take it forward with renewed commitment.”
Pope Francis also pressed attendees to build upon their “experience gained and with skilful creativity, to always help the Church and confessors to better carry out the ministry of mercy, which is so important!”
Reflecting on the theme of mercy, the Pope pointed out that “the protagonist of the ministry of reconciliation is the Holy Spirit,” adding that “the forgiveness that the Sacrament confers is the new life sent by the Risen Lord by means of His Spirit: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
“Therefore, you are called to always be ‘men of the Holy Spirit,’ witnesses and heralds, joyful and strong, of the resurrection of the Lord.”
Explaining how this witness is “read on the face,” the pontiff explained that it is also “heard in the voice of the priest” who administers the sacrament with “faith and with ‘unction,’” and welcomes the penitents who come, rather than treating them “with the attitude of a judge.”
Observing how “the heart of the priest is a heart that knows how to be moved, not by sentimentality or mere emotion, but to the ‘tender mercy’ of the Lord,” the Pope drew attention to the dual role of a confessor as both “doctor and judge,” adding that “we must never forget that as a doctor he is called to heal and as a judge, to absolve.”
In a second point, the pontiff noted that if the sacrament “transmits the new life of the Risen Lord and renews baptismal grace,” then the task of a priest “is to give it generously to others.”
“A priest who does not attend to this part of his ministry, both in the amount of time spent and in the spiritual quality, is like a shepherd who does not take care of the sheep that were lost; he is like a father who forgets the lost son and neglects waiting for him.”
Reminding those in attendance how many persons often experience “difficulty” in “approaching the sacrament” for various reasons, the Pope expressed the necessity “to work hard on ourselves, on our humanity, never to be an obstacle but always to favor drawing near to mercy and forgiveness.”
He also cautioned participants to guard against the two extremes “rigorism and laxism” in administering Confession, observing that “neither is good, because in reality they don’t take charge of the person of the penitent.”
“Instead, mercy truly listens with the heart of God and wants to accompany the soul on the path of reconciliation.”
Bringing up a final point in his discourse, Pope Francis stated that although many know of the difficulties encountered in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we also know that “the Lord wanted to give this immense gift to His Church, offering to the baptized the security of the Father's forgiveness.”
“For this reason” he said, “it is very important that in every diocese and in the parish communities, particular care is taken of the celebration of this Sacrament of forgiveness and salvation.”
Encouraging attendees to make clear times available for the sacrament in their parishes and to let their congregation know, the Pope emphasized that “when there is fidelity, the fruits are seen.”
Concluding his speech, the pontiff entrusted the priestly ministry and all Christian communities to “the Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy,” praying that “that they might always grow in understanding the value of the Sacrament of Penance.”
Why does he even have to say this, I wonder? It’s all about forgiveness, although I was once kicked out of the confessional as a 9 year old for getting on the priest’s nerves about something. You could hear him all over the church and all eyes were on me as I drew aside the thick velvet curtain. Such surprise that a knock-kneed child of 9 could cause such upset!
And for converts: this was the church of my youth - filled with not only reverence but sometimes downright funny happenings. How I loved it!
Totally off topic from the Pope.....
Last night I was flipping through the channels and came across John Lomacang on the 3ABN channel. He called the Catholic Church of the seven heads and, if I can paraphrase, basically evil. He’s a Seventh Day Adventist, and I was taken back at the anti-catholicism. Has anyone ever heard of him?
“...I was once kicked out of the confessional as a 9 year old for getting on the priests nerves about something.”
Oh dear! I think my Irish grandmother would admire you for that.
Forgiveness Through a Priest
Don’t let the traditions of popery bind your conscience. Come to Christ and find rest and true liberty.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Today is Saturday. If you haven’t been to confession yet this Lent—GO!
I always thought it was pious talk when teachers would say that priests don’t remember what they hear in confession.
Whether it’s the Holy Spirit at work, or the fact that very, very few confessions are interesting, or Old-Timers’ Disease, I’ve found that it’s true.
There are a couple of confessions—from long ago and far away—that I have used in homilies. One old man came in and said: “I missed Mass one Sunday.” I said: “Did you have a good reason?” He said: “We had a blizzard and you didn’t have Mass.”
Thank you for imparting a touch of humor to the discussion.
I admit, I’m such a coward, I wait until we have a visiting priest before I go to confession!
In the late 50s & early 60s, you had to know your stuff in the Confessional! One slip up of “Forgive me Father, I have sinned...” and whammo!
I recommend to you Hugh Leonard’s brilliant memoir “Home Before Night” about his childhood in Dublin in the 1930s. It was the basis for the movie “Da.” It is an hilarious book about all his childish misadventures with priests and nuns and policemen and boy scout leaders - told with great humor and forgiveness. You can buy it in paperback on Amazon.
...sounds like many a freeper I’ve come across.
**Pope Francis: confession is not condemnation, but mercy**
The Lord forgives and forgets through this Sacrament.
It's in Scripture, so I am wondering if its in your Bible, and if it is, why you don't believe the words of Jesus:
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.
31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (NRSV)
Or you can drive a few miles. Either way is good.
I don’t know what the percentage might be, but I think lots of people go outside their parish. My mother almost always went to a neighboring parish.
Why should I trust the “Berean Beacon” when I can go straight to Jesus in John 20 ... and hear Jesus tell me to go to the priest? I don’t need any website telling me what the Bible means, according to some manmade tradition.
“It is an hilarious book about all his childish misadventures with priests and nuns and policemen and boy scout leaders ...”
I’ve told this story about my grandmother here before, so forgive me if I’m repeating myself.
When I was about 10 or so she took me aside (as she often did to impart some wisdom) and advised that there were 2 groups of people to avoid if possible, and the reason for each was the same. She said that these were priests and policemen, because they were never around when you needed them, but always looking over your shoulder when you’d rather they didn’t.
The last time I told this one of our fellow freepers was insistent that this marked my grandmother as a big liberal, but I aver that she was a true libertarian.
She would have loved this place and fit right in with even our rowdiest members.
It’s true! I would add nuns into the mix, btw. Your grandmother sounds like a sensible and humorous lady. That, some freepers need to remember, is not antithetical to being a good Christian.
As usual, that passage doesn’t mean what popery teaches it means. Rome wastes no opportunity to twist Scripture and undermine the true doctrine of Christ. I find it interesting how wicked men have devised for themselves a monopoly on the salvation business.
If I have time later I will come back and specifically address the passage cited. Until then, any person wanting to understand how to view this biblically can follow the link I posted earlier.
The New Testament teaches that all born again believers are a royal priesthood and it never teaches anything about a class of clergy known as priests. The Bible teaches believers to “...come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Dear people, don’t let the wicked traditions of popery bind your conscience. Don’t fall into the Fowler’s snare! Go boldly to the throne of grace. You don’t need the minions of Rome, all you need is Christ! He is our advocate, sole mediator, and great high priest!
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
—1 John 2:1
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
—1 John 1:2
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
—1 Peter 2:9
Unlike Rome, I never say “trust ME.” And Richard Bennett, the former Irish priest of Berean Beacon wouldn’t say it either. I tell everyone to be a BEREAN (read Acts 17) and search out the Scriptures to prove that what I am saying is true. You can look to others in the faith for guidance, but God’s Word is the final authority.
And that passage doesn’t teach what you think it does AT ALL. Scripture must be read in light of other Scripture. Wicked men create all sorts of false doctrines by taking isolated passages out of their rightful contexts or by not considering them in light of other passages dealing with the same topic. Please note there isn’t one word about priests in that passage. NOT ONE. You will search in vain for New Testament passages teaching the creation of the priesthood. However, in the New Testament Peter did teach that all those in Christ are a “royal priesthood.”
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”
—1 Peter 2:9
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Confession offers mercy and healing... as well as forgiveness. I’m sure many have experiences of this that they can share. Confession is a super powerful sacrament. It works!
Whenever I take the “easier way” and go to a stranger, I almost always get a face-to-face confession! Serves me right!
I think the “face-to-face” confessional was inspired by the Evil One to destroy the sacrament—especially, of course, where the screen is not available.
BTW: In every church I’ve ever been in, where there is a screen, the person who might wish to use it is forced to kneel. This is stupid. There is no inherent connection between using the screen and kneeling. Many, many elderly people are forced to go face-to-face because they cannot kneel. I can’t but think that many stay away entirely! If this is the situation in your church, ask your pastor to put a chair by the screen.
It means exactly what it says. Why would you not believe Christ’s words.
He ordained the apostles, breathing the Holy Spirit on them and giving them the ability to forgive and withhold forgiveness of sin.
That charism is passed down through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
1449 The formula of absolution used in the Latin Church expresses the essential elements of this sacrament: the Father of mercies is the source of all forgiveness. He effects the reconciliation of sinners through the Passover of his Son and the gift of his Spirit, through the prayer and ministry of the Church:
God, the Father of mercies,
"There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church." -Bishop Fulton Sheen
Like the one cited above from the Berean Beacon that I demonstrated was false?