Pastoral Letter Tells the Why of Confession

Archbishop Forte Defends the Sacrament

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CHIETI, Italy, NOV. 13, 2005 ( Why we should confess our sins to a priest, is the topic of a pastoral letter written by an archbishop-theologian.

Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto wrote “Reconciliation and the Beauty of God,” which describes sin as “love turned in on itself.”

It denies itself to God, “ingratitude of the one who responds to love with indifference and rejection,” but above all a real evil that does harm, contends the prelate, who is also on the International Theological Commission.

This leads him to broach the question: “Why must one confess one’s sins to a priest and not do so directly to God?”

“Of course, one always addresses God when confessing one’s sins,” begins the archbishop. “That it is necessary to do so before a priest is something that God himself makes us understand.”

“When sending his Son in our flesh,” the prelate continues, “he shows that he wants to meet with us through direct contact, which passes through the signs and language of our human condition.”

“As he came out of himself for love of us and came to ‘touch’ us with his flesh,” he adds, “so we are called to come out of ourselves, out of love for him, and to go with humility and faith to the one who can give us forgiveness in his name, with word and gesture,” namely, “to whom the Lord has chosen and sent as minister of forgiveness.”

“Confession is therefore an encounter with divine forgiveness, which Jesus offers us and is transmitted to us through the ministry of the Church,” writes Archbishop Forte, 56.

“Approach confession with a humble and contrite heart and live it with faith,” he urges. “It will change your life and give you peace of heart.”

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