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Pope Francis: 'Confessing our sins is not going to a psychiatrist, or to a torture chamber.'

2013-10-25

During Mass at Casa SantaMarta, Pope Francis explained the keys to the Sacrament ofConfession. He said it must be face-to-face and concrete. The Popesaid children offer a good example of confession because they are notafraid to speak openly. 


POPE FRANCIS 
Confessing our sins isnot going to a psychiatrist, or to a torture chamber. Some say: ‘Ah, Iconfess directly to God. It’s easy, But it’s like confessing byemail, no?' God is far away, I say things and there’s noface-to-face contact. Little children havethat wisdom: when a child comes to confess, he never says somethinggeneral. ‘But Father, I did this and I did that to my aunt, anothertime I said this word.' And they say the word. But they are concrete,eh? They have that simplicity of the truth. 

Pope Francis also spokeabout shame. He said it wasn't bad. Rather, it's a God-given grace tohelp people return to Him. As an example, he recalled St. Peter whodenied knowing Jesus on three separate times. 


EXCERPT FROM POPE'SHOMILY 
Source: Vatican Radio 

"This is thestruggle of Christians. It is our struggle every day. And we do notalways have the courage to speak as Paul spoke about this struggle.We always seek a way of justification: ‘But yes, we are allsinners.’ But we say it like that, don’t we? This says itdramatically: it is our struggle. And if we don’t recognize this,we will never be able to have God’s forgiveness. Because if being asinner is a word, a way of speaking, a manner of speaking, we have noneed of God’s forgiveness. But if it is a reality that makes usslaves, we need this interior liberation of the Lord, of that force.But more important here is that, to find the way out, Paul confesseshis sin to the community, his tendency to sin. He doesn’t hideit.”

"Some say: ‘Ah, I confess to God.’ But it’seasy, it’s like confessing by email, no? God is far away, I saythings and there’s no face-to-face, no eye-to-eye contact. Paulconfesses his weakness to the brethren face-to-face. Others [say],‘No, I go to confession,’ but they confess so many etherealthings, so many up-in-the-air things, that they don’t have anythingconcrete. And that’s the same as not doing it. Confessing our sinsis not going to a psychiatrist, or to a torture chamber: it’ssaying to the Lord, ‘Lord, I am a sinner,’ but saying it throughthe brother, because this says it concretely. ‘I am sinner becauseof this, that and the other thing.’”

"Little childrenhave that wisdom: when a child comes to confess, he never sayssomething general. ‘But father, I did this and I did that to myaunt, another time I said this word’ and they say the word. Butthey are concrete, eh? They have that simplicity of the truth. And wealways have the tendency to hide the reality of our failings. Butthere is something beautiful: when we confess our sins as they are inthe presence of God, we always feel that grace of shame. Beingashamed in the sight of God is a grace. It is a grace: ‘I amashamed of myself.’ We think of Peter when, after the miracle ofJesus on the lake, [he said] ‘Depart from me, Lord, for I am asinner.’ He is ashamed of his sins in the presence of the sanctityof Jesus.” 


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