Given the publicity he usually receives from the media, it was interesting that the title of Pope Francis’s address on Confession last week was not trumpeted around the world, writes Francis Phillips in The Catholic Herald.
You can understand why this subject would not have leapt off the news desks of the media though: 'Courage?' 'Confession?' Well – no gossip, no scandal, therefore no news. Yet, as reported on CNA on February 20, the Holy Father spoke with such pastoral warmth on the subject that it deserves revisiting and that a thoughtful reader would recognise the obviously healing element of the Sacrament, whether a believer or not.
As the Pope explained, in Confession we meet Jesus who receives us 'with so much love!' Confession is not just a personal matter, 'it is rooted in the universality of the Church which accompanies us on the path of conversion.'
On the question of shame or embarrassment at revealing our weaknesses and vices, Pope Francis was forthright: 'Even embarrassment is good,' he declared. 'It’s healthy to have a bit of shame… It does us good because it makes us more humble.' Afterwards, the Pope told his audience, the penitent feels liberated from the burden of his conscience: 'free, great, beautiful, forgiven, clean, happy.'
Striking a personal note, the Holy Father told his listeners, 'When I go to Confession, it’s for healing: healing the soul, healing the heart because of something I did to make it unwell.' He concluded by reassuring the pilgrims: 'Every time we go to confession, God embraces us.'
It all sounds so simple and straightforward – and it is meant to be straightforward. A convert friend told me it took her some time to realise that she did not need to explain or describe the complex background to her sins as she was prone to do. Confession isn’t the same as therapy.
FULL STORY We should follow Pope Francis’s lead on Confession (The Catholic Herald)