Pope Francis has personally directed cardinals and archbishops of the Roman Curia to take turns hearing daily confessions in a church near the Vatican.
The parish priest of Santo Spirito in Sassia, Father Jozef Bart, announced the Pope’s instruction after Sunday evening Mass, Dec. 15.
It is also possible that the Pope himself may hear confessions there at 3p.m., but not as a matter of routine, according to Robert Moynihan, founding director of Inside the Vatican magazine.
Santo Spirito in Sassia is dedicated specifically to the Divine Mercy devotion announced by St. Faustina Kowalska 80 years ago. Blessed Pope John Paul II promoted the devotion, and also established the Feast of Divine Mercy. He died on the eve of the solemnity.
The Pope’s almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, already hears confessions there daily at 3 p.m. From now on, cardinals and other archbishops will offer the Sacrament of Penance in the confessional Archbishop Krajewski normally uses.
Moynihan reported that the plan had been in the works for some time, but the Pope wished to begin the practice “immediately.”
Father Bart said the Holy Father is keen on the initiative because he wishes to “emphasize the importance of confession, and of God’s great goodness in forgiving human sin.”