15 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Resolution introduced in Congress to call Islamic State atrocities 'genocide'

Members of Congress introduced a resolution on Thursday to label the atrocities committed by the Islamic State against Christians and other religious minorities…

Read more

05 Mar 2016 News Vatican Comments (1)

Pope Francis to Faithful: Sin impoverishes and isolates us

The Pope spoke at the penitential celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday where he said, sin “impoverishes us and isolates us." The Apostle John writes: …

Read more

13 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (5)

How did the Church determine that September 8 is the birthday of our Blessed Mother?

Full Question How did the Church determine that September 8 is the birthday of our Blessed Mother? Answer Usually, the Church assigns dates for p…

Read more

21 Mar 2016 Asia-Pacific News No comments

Christians express deep concern over Israeli restrictions and policies during Easter celebrations

Christians have expressed deep concern over Israeli restrictions and policies during Religious celebrations that have been in effect for the past 6 years. The E…

Read more

19 Nov 2014 Q&A No comments

Are 1 and 2 Esdras non-canonical books?

Full Question An answer in the February 1994 issue confused me. You stated that Church councils rejected 1 and 2 Esdras as non-canonical, yet my Douay-Rhei…

Read more

13 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (13)

Do miscarried fetuses have souls? What happens to them?

Full Question Do miscarried fetuses have souls? If so, what happens to them? Answer All living things have souls, and all human beings have spiri…

Read more

02 Oct 2016 News No comments

Wedding celebration gone wrong - 22 injured in highway accident

A wedding in Delaware came to a painful conclusion when twenty-two guests were thrown from a wagon onto a freeway. One couple's blissful wedding day was cut …

Read more

14 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Choo-choo: Now tourists can take a train to see the Castel Gandolfo gardens

With a deafening whistle and a plume of smoke, an antique train departed from the Vatican rail station Friday to inaugurate a weekly train service to the papal …

Read more

06 Jan 2017 Articles Comments (3)

Mulling the practical pros and cons of married priests

There are plenty of historical and theological arguments for and against married priests, but few stop to consider the practical pros and cons. Yet Catholicism …

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Pope Francis: ‘Life is short; start forgiving, making amends’

Mercy recognises that life is short and that so much good needs to be done that there is no time to waste in making amends, Pope Francis told priests.

“That is why it is so important to forgive completely" and let go of paralysing self-pity so mercy can get “its hands dirty" and make reparation for the wrongs committed, he said in a retreat for clergy.

Mercy does not overlook the harm caused by sin, “rather it takes away evil’s power over the future. It takes away its power over life."

To help priests and seminarians better understand the proper role mercy must play in their lives and ministry, Pope Francis led thousands of men on a spiritual retreat in Rome.

The aim, he said, was for priests to be ready to receive mercy in order to show it even more.

Over the course of the day June 2, the Pope led three separate meditations – each nearly an hour long – in three of Rome’s four basilicas: St John Lateran, St Mary Major and St Paul Outside the Walls.

Live video links let clergy follow the readings and reflections from different locations.

Introducing how his Ignatian-inspired spiritual exercises would work, the Jesuit Pope apologised for “the family endorsement."

He said guiding personal prayer with Ignatian spirituality allows people “to feel and savour the things of God" deep within themselves.

Action and conversion are spurred, he said, by first feeling and being moved by what God is saying or showing.

Sitting behind a simple wooden desk, supplied with a small bottle of water and a glass, the pope presented his first meditation in St John Lateran, which hosted Rome diocesan and religious priests and seminarians and those working in the Roman Curia.

Through the use of many vivid examples and personal, colourful anecdotes, Pope Francis said because God’s love and mercy are limitless, priests must ask what barren and parched places are most in need of this life-giving water.

“What are the wounds that need this precious balm? What is the sense of abandonment that cries out for loving attention?"

He explained that moving from estrangement to embrace starts with a clear recognition of one’s own sins and the feeling of shame and embarrassment, which lead to a heartsick sense of “nostalgia," which compels the straying child to return back to the house of the father.

Referring to the parable of the prodigal son, the Pope said when the son returned home, the father restored the young man’s dignity, despite his sinful nature.

The contradictory feeling of shame and embarrassment can hit priests “when the people kiss our hands and we look at our own most intimate miseries and we are honoured by the people of God," he said.

“That is how we have to see ourselves: poised between our utter shame and our sublime dignity;" sinful and selfish, yet cleansed and chosen to feed God’s sheep and multiply his graces.

“Only mercy makes this situation bearable" in keeping the two extremes in balance, he said, and it triggers the desire to make amends.

Speaking off-the-cuff, the Pope said priests have to be careful with how they speak and never refer to individual people as “a case."

“Without realising it, we might say: ‘I have a case …’ I’m sorry, (but you mean) ‘I have a person …’ And this is very clerical," he said, admitting “it has even happened to me often."

Such language separates the pastor from the person so “they don’t touch me and I don’t dirty my hands. And then I do a ‘clean,’ ‘elegant’ pastoral ministry where I don’t risk anything."

At noon, the Pope went to St Mary Major, where he laid red roses and prayed before the basilica’s famous Marian icon “Salus Populi Romani" (health of the Roman people).

There, Italian priests and seminarians from outside of Rome reflected on turning to Mary for the courage to imitate her.

Mary shows people “the only power capable of winning human hearts is the tenderness of God," Pope Francis said. Mary creates a place that is “inviting, not at all like a tribunal or an office."

“Unless we can see into people’s suffering and recognise their needs, we will have nothing to offer them," the Pope said.

The Pope told the priests that “almost all the great saints were great sinners" or they had the humility to see “it was by sheer grace" that they avoided the worst of sins.

At the Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls, Pope Francis said caring for the poor and the sick is the hallmark of the church.

When it comes to the poor, the church has “always followed the promptings of the Spirit." He said the people can forgive a priest’s sins “except that of attachment to money."

“This does not have so much to do with money itself, but the fact that money makes us lose the treasure of mercy. Our people can sniff out which sins are truly grave for a priest, the sins that kill his ministry because they turn him into a bureaucrat or, even worse, a mercenary," he said.

The Pope emphasised that in the confessional, a priest can be an instrument that allows people to have a genuine experience of “God’s merciful love for the sinner."

He also advised them to learn from good confessors, who help penitents amend their ways and who are gentle with sinners, without acting like “a bureaucrat or a judge" who only “sees ‘cases’ to be dealt with."

“This is the key to our judgment: that we treat others with dignity, that we don’t demean or mistreat them, that we help raise them up and that we never forget that the Lord is using us, weak as we are, as his instruments," he said.

By Catholic News Service


Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories