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Priests should be waiting in confessionals, says Vatican official

Catholic World News - March 24, 2014

Acknowledging a crisis in the sacrament of Penance, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary has encouraged priests to make the sacrament readily available, and to wait in confessionals for the faithful.

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, speaking at a Vatican conference on the internal forum, said that sacramental Confession is “possibly the most concrete and real way to renew one’s personal meeting with Jesus Christ.” For priests, he said, hearing confessions “means entering into sacred territory.” He recommended that confessors pray for prudence and discernment before hearing confessions, seeking to act as instruments of grace, and afterward thank God for his mercy.

Cardinal Piacenza criticized the approach in which confessions are available on to adults and by appointment. That system, he said, makes the sacrament “individualistic,” and does not invite participation the way priests do when they have regular hours available for confessions.

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