Penitents misusing Pope’s words in confessions

An Italian priest is worried at the “quality” of people’s confessions he hears and he believes some penitents are misusing Pope Francis’s words.

In a letter to the chiesa website last month, the confessor recounted two instances that illustrated what he believes is a trend.

One man, who repented of a series of sins against the seventh commandment “do not steal”, told the confessor “who are you to judge me”.

The man admitted he was only going to confession to be able to receive communion later that day, to which he was entitled.

He expressed surprise when the priest told him of the need for repentance and for a resolution not to fall back into this sin.

“I did what I did. What I will do I will decide when I go from here,” the man said, adding “Mercy knows no limits.”

And in another case, a young woman, who confessed a grave sin against the fifth commandment, responded with annoyance to a penance given of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and of doing charity.

She told the confessor “no one must ask for anything in exchange for God’s mercy, because it is free”.

She said she didn’t have time to go to a Church to pray, because she had to do Christmas shopping, and she didn’t have money to give to the poor, who didn’t need it anyway.

In the letter, the priest noted that other pastors he had contacted had experienced similar encounters in the confessional of late.

“The picture that presents itself is certainly not a happy one, both concerning the awareness of sin and in reference to the awareness of the prerequisites for obtaining God’s forgiveness,” the priest wrote.

The priest also observed that the lines of people approaching confessionals during the Year of Mercy are shorter than during previous jubilees.


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