Benedict XVI Invites Faithful to Confession

Notes 25 Years Since John Paul II’s Document on Sacrament

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2009 ( Benedict XVI today encouraged the faithful — and particularly priests — to trust in God’s goodness and approach the sacrament of confession.

The Pope spoke of this sacrament today as he concluded the general audience in St. Peter’s Square. In his customary greeting to youth, the sick and newlyweds, he observed that today marks the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation, «Reconciliatio et paenitentia.»

The document «called attention to the importance of the sacrament of penance in the life of the Church,» the Holy Father said. And he pointed to some «extraordinary ‘apostles of the confessional,’ tireless dispensers of divine mercy: Sts. John Mary Vianney, Joseph Cafasso, Leopold Mandic, Pio of Pietrelcina.»

Turning to youth, he expressed his hope that the witness of these saints would be an encouragement «to flee from sin and to plan your future as a generous service to God and neighbor.»

The Holy Father continued: «May it help you, dear sick people, to experience in suffering the mercy of Christ crucified. And may it solicit you, dear newlyweds, to create in the family a climate of faith and of mutual understanding.»

Finally, the Pontiff expressed his wish that these saints — «assiduous and faithful ministers of divine forgiveness» — would be for priests especially and for all Christians «an invitation to always have confidence in God’s goodness, approaching and celebrating with trust the sacrament of reconciliation.»

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