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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis says confession is “not to torture but is to give peace”

Pope Francis arrived at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie al Trionfale in Rome in his classic white Fiat 500. Before entering the Church, the Pope took his time to greet the crowds waiting for him outside.

Once inside, he spent a few moments in prayer before the icon of Mary in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

As he greeted those in the Church in his wheelchair, the choir sang hymns.

Following the readings, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of the Pharisee and tax collector who went to pray. He urged those present not to be like the Pharisee who prayed thinking he was better than others.

I am conceited. I think I am better than others. I look at someone like this, with a little disdain.
If your heart is like that, you will go to hell. To approach God, say: Lord, I am the first among sinners.

The Pope didn't only challenge the laity to be mercifcul. But he encouraged priests to forgive all sins without judgement in the Sacrament of Confession.

And here I turn to my brother confessors today. Please brothers, forgive everything.
Let people state their business and you receive it as Jesus, with the caress of your gaze, with the silence of your understanding. Please, the Sacrament of Confession is not to torture people but to give peace.

After the Pope's homily, the entire Church fell silent to make an examination of conscience. Then the parish priest brought out the monstrance with the Eucharist for a time of adoration.

Pope Francis ended the time of silent prayer by hearing the confession of someone present in the Church, opening the 24 Hours of confession to anyone who wanted to participate.