July 1, 2014. The Council of Cardinals began their fifth meeting with the Pope at the Vatican. Starting today at Casa Santa Marta, it will end on Friday, July 4. The previous meetings were from 1 to 3 October 2013, 3 -5 December 2013, from 17 to 19 February 2014 and 28 to 30 April 2014.
The Pope made his way along St. Peter's Square a few times, and as usual he blessed several babies along the way. Before starting off his general audience, he sipped on some mate tea and even exchanged his papal hat with pilgrims. But with the morning's strong winds, the Pope eventually decided to take off his papal hat all together.
In his catechesis, he reflected on the Sacrament of Confession, explaining that a personal confession isn't enough. Confessing through the Church, he said, is essential and humbleness is needed.
"Don't be afraid of Confession. When you go into a confessional, you have so many emotions, including shame. But afterwords you feel free, great, beautiful and forgiven.”
Reflecting on Wednesday's readings the Pope explained that Jesus can heal much more than just the body. He can also heal the soul.
"Some will say, Oh Father, but I feel ashamed. Well sometimes it's good to feel a little shame. Shame can be healthy. When a person doesn't feel any shame, in my country we call them shameless, a 'sin verguenza.' A shameless person.”
He asked the crowd of about 20,000 people, to think about the last time they Confessed. Whether it was weeks, months or years ago, the Pope said, one shouldn't waste time.
"Each one of you should ask yourselves: When was the last time I went to Confession? If a lot of time has passed, then don't let another day go by. Go forward.”
Towards the end, he also called for peace in Ukraine, where amid recent protests and violence, several people have died in the country's capitol.