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Pope in Santa Marta: Confession is neither a process, nor a dry cleaner, for one's conscience

2017-03-21

During his homily at Casa Santa Marta, the pope spoke about confession. He said that those who see the confessional only as a dry cleaner, to remove stains on their conscience, have not felt shame for their sins. 

POPE FRANCIS
"I go there, I say my sins, the priest forgives me, I’m given three Hail Mary’s to pray and I leave in peace.’ You have not understood! You have only gone to confession to carry out a banking transaction or an office task. You have not gone to confession ashamed of what you have done. If you don’t have the knowledge to be forgiven, you will never be able to forgive."

The pope recalled that God forgives only when one feels ashamed of their sins. When one repents of their sins and is forgiven, only then are they able to forgive others. 


HOMILY OF THE POPE IN ENGLISH 
(Vatican Radio)

"If I ask ‘Are you all sinners? - Yes Father, all of us - and to obtain pardon for our sins? - We confess - And how did the confession go? – I go there, I say my sins, the priest forgives me, I’m given three Hail Mary’s to pray and I leave in peace.’ You have not understood! You have only gone to confession to carry out a banking transaction or an office task.” 

"You have not gone to confession ashamed of what you have done. You have seen stains on your conscience and have mistakenly believed that the confessional box is like the dry cleaners that removes those sins. You’re unable to feel shame for your sins.”

"The marvel enters your heart. You have the power to enter into its knowledge. Otherwise you leave the confessional, meet a friend, begin to talk and gossip about someone else and continue sinning.”

"I can only forgive when I feel forgiven. If you don’t have the knowledge to be forgiven, you will never be able to forgive. This attitude affects how we deal with others. Forgiveness is total. But I can forgive only when I feel my sins, my shame. I am ashamed and I call on God for forgiveness. I feel  forgiven by the Father and in that way I can forgive others. If not, I cannot forgive, and we are unable to do so. For this reason forgiveness is a mystery.”

"Today, let us ask the Lord for the grace to understand this, seventy times seven. Let us ask for the grace to be ashamed before God. It is a huge grace. To feel ashamed of our sins and then receive forgiveness and the grace of generosity to give it to others, because the Lord has forgiven all, so who am I to not forgive?”