Pope Francis explained what a good confessor’s like to hundreds of priests last Friday.
There are three particular characteristics Francis highlighted when speaking to the priests at the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican court.
The Apostolic Penitentiary deals with issues concerning the sacrament of confession.
Francis says the first characteristic is the priest “must be a friend of Jesus the good shepherd”. They must also be “dedicated to prayer”.
Francis says a Ministry of Reconciliation “bound up in prayer” is a credible reflection of God’s mercy and will “avoid the harshness and misunderstandings” that are sometimes associated with the Sacrament.
Secondly, he said the priest needs to be discerning.
Francis said being discerning enables a confessor to distinguish and not “tar all with the same brush” despite the variety of needs the people going to Reconciliation may have.
Thirdly, if the priest notices the presence of spiritual disturbances, confirmed through a ”healthy collaboration” with specialists in human sciences, he must not hesitate to refer the issue to an exorcist.
The exorcist must be chosen with “great care and great prudence”, Francis said.
He pointed out that disorders can be caused by many situations.
Some may be supernatural ones. In these cases, Francis said exorcism is a “sensitive and necessary ministry”.
News category: World.