The Holy Father speaks of confession, the Sacrament of Penance, not rarely.
He just gave the Pope’s annual address to a group which participates in a workshop held by the Sacra Penitenzieria Apostolica. I did that workshop several times. I urge all clerics in Rome to take it when it is offered during Lent.
This year the Holy Father said (HERE), among other things…
“Let us restore to the centre – and not only in this Jubilee Year – the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a true space of the Spirit in which all, confessors and penitents, are able to experience the only definitive and faithful love, that of God for each one of His children, a love that never disappoints. [If there is anything in the Church that needs a serious effort at restoration, it’s the Sacrament of Penance. ] St. Leopold Mandic reiterated that God’s mercy outstrips all our expectations. He used to say to those who suffered, ‘We have in Heaven the heart of a mother. The Virgin, our Mother, who at the foot of the Cross experienced all the suffering possible for a human creature, understands our hardships and consoles us’. May Mary, refuge of sinners and Mother of Mercy, always guide and sustain the fundamental ministry of Reconciliation“. [Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us!]
With regard to the issue of what a priest should do if he finds himself unable to give absolution, [It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen. Sometimes a person gets into the box who isn’t Catholic. Sometimes, a person doesn’t confess anything. Sometimes a person doesn’t demonstrate desire to change. Remember that all sacraments have both form (the words of absolution) and matter (the sins that are confessed). No confession of sins, no matter to be absolved, no absolution. Examine your consciences and confess all mortal sins in both kind and number. Learn a good, classic Act of Contrition.] the Holy Father recommended, “First of all, see if there is a way; many times you will find it. [Sometimes confessors have to ask a couple questions.] Secondly, do not focus only on spoken language, but also on the language of gestures. [Not apparent if there is a fixed grate or screen, but his point is good.] There are people who do not want to speak but through their gestures demonstrate their repentance, their pain. [Ummm… they have to communicate something to absolve. I’m sure he is talking about those who have a hard time spitting it out.] And thirdly, if you cannot offer absolution, [rare… Once a priest is convinced that the penitent is a) finished and b) truly sorry and c) wants to amend her life, he should not delay in giving absolution.] speak like a father: ‘Listen, I cannot absolve you of this, but I can assure you that God loves you, that God awaits you. Let us pray together to Our Lady, so that she may protect you, and come, return, as I will await you as God does’, and give a blessing. … This is always the point: there, there is a father. … God knows how to forgive things better than we do. But may there at least be the image of the Father”, concluded Francis.
GO TO CONFESSION!
What on earth are you waiting for? Your last breath? Does that seem smart to you in even the least way?
Don’t play fast and loose with your eternal salvation.
If you are aware of serious sins,
GO TO CONFESSION!
It’s a matter of eternal life or eternal death.