Restore central role of Confession, Pope urges
March 04, 2016
Pope Francis called for a restoration of the central role of Confession, in a March 4 address to participants in an annual course offered by the Apostolic Penitentiary.
As confessors, priests are "instruments of God's mercy," the Pope said. He said that there are many ways to experience and encounter with God, but there is "a sure way to mercy, leading from possibility to reality, from hope to certainty." That way, he explained, is the sacrament of reconciliation, instituted by Jesus "who has the authority on earth to forgive sins and transmitted that mission to the Church."
The Pope said that priests should prepare themselves to serve as confessors, and recognize that they must not "place obstacles to this gift of salvation." Even when they find that they cannot give absolution, he said, confessors should "speak like a father: 'Listen, I cannot absolve you of this, but I can assure you that God loves you, God awaits you.'"
- To the Apostolic Penitentiary: may every absolution be a jubilee of the heart (Vatican press office)