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Priests who cannot show mercy should not hear confessions, Pope says

September 10, 2015

“If you can’t forgive, you are not a Christian,” Pope Francis said in his homily at morning Mass on September 10.

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“What’s more,” the Pope continued, “if you can’t forgive, you cannot receive the peace of the Lord.”

The Pope went on to say that a priest who cannot show forgiveness should not hear confessions: “If you are a priest and you can’t manage to be merciful, tell your bishop to give you an administrative job, but please don’t go into the confessional box!” He added that a priest who is impatient with penitents should ask his doctor for a pill to calm his nerves before hearing confessions.

Pope Francis said that the willingness to forgive is essential to a Christian community, and warned against those who enjoy conflict. He repeated his oft-voiced condemnation of arms traffickers, who encourage others toward war.



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  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Sep. 12, 2015 8:47 AM ET USA

    If a priest detects that a person in the confessional is not truly contrite and is rationalizing his/her behavior instead of confessing it and promising to try and avoid the sin, would not that priest be correct in withholding absolution until the person understands the gravity of the sin? Would the Pope regard that priest as not being merciful enough? I am not aware of a problem of priests not being merciful in the confessional. This is news to me.

  • Posted by: feedback - Sep. 10, 2015 10:10 PM ET USA

    This is one of many reasons why I love Pope Francis