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Pope recommends Confession, identifies priests as 'servants of God's forgiveness'

Catholic World News - November 20, 2013

“God never tires of forgiving us,” Pope Francis told his weekly public audience on November 20.

Recommending regular use of sacramental Confession, the Pope told his audience that he makes a habit of Confession every 15 days.

God is always ready to forgive a sinner, the Pope said. But in an age characterized by individualism, he remarked, people often neglect “the ecclesiastical dimension of forgiveness.” Having been incorporated into the Church, the sinner has “an extra gift, but it is also an extra commitment, to pass humbly through ecclesial ministry.” The faithful should realize the value of hearing a priest pronounce the words of absolution, he said.

The power to forgive sins, the Pope told his audience, reflects the “power of the keys” given to the apostles by Jesus after his Resurrection. He explained: “Jesus, bodily transfigured, is now a new man, who offers the Paschal gifts, the fruit of his death and resurrection: peace, joy, forgiveness of sins, the mission, and above all the Holy Spirit that is the source of all this.” The Church does not “own” the power to forgive, but exercises that power as a ministry, a service provided through the action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope said.

The priest-confessor, the Pope added, is a “tool” of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. A priest hearing confessions should be “humble, benevolent, and merciful,” he said; and priests who do not have that attitude should not administer the sacrament. “The penitent faithful,” the Holy Father said, “have the right to find, in priests, the servants of God’s forgiveness.”

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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Nov. 20, 2013 12:04 PM ET USA

    These papal homilies are fascinating. Someone with talent for composing a book should publish them. There are all kinds of personal details revealed in them like the fact that Francis goes to Confession every other week. He is using his own ''story'' as an example for the faithful to follow. I read elsewhere that he also says the entire Rosary every day.

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