During his catechesis at the General Audience, Pope Francis spoke about forgiveness and Confession. He said that God never tires of forgiving, and he urged all Catholics to never tire of asking for forgiveness. The Pope also acknowledged that he too goes to Confession.
"Our mothers, our grandmothers said that it's better to turn red once, than to turn pale thousands. You turn red once, you're absolved of your sins, and you move on. Even I go to Confession every 15 days, because the Pope is also a sinner. And the confessor listens to what I tell him, he advises me and absolves me, because we are all in need of this forgiveness.”
The Pope explained that the task of forgiving sins is so delicate, that if a priest is not merciful and benevolent, he should avoid being a confessor.
"Penitents have... the obligation? No. They have the right! We have the right, all of us, to find in priests, the servants of forgiveness from God.”
At the end of the audience, Pope Francis also asked the 45,000 people in attendance to pray in silence for the flood victims of Cyclone Cleopatra in Sardinia.
Despite the cold, the Pope set aside 45 minutes before the start of the audience to greet the crowds at St. Peter's Square. He even joked with a group of pilgrims.
"The tea? Where's the 'mate'? A Uruguayan without 'mate' is not Uruguayan.”
Pope Francis also stopped and got off his Popemobile to personally greet this elderly woman in a wheelchair.