April 3, 2015

The Pope of mercy

For the first time in months, I was feeling nervous about going to Confession. I had a sense of dread as I imagined reading my lengthy examination of conscience to my confessor. The worry of never again being able to look my priest in the eye lingered at the back of my mind as I scrambled to prepare to receive the sacrament.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis' decision to convoke a special Holy Year of Mercy has its roots in the event that led a teenage Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the priesthood.

Published in Faith

VATICAN CITY - Hearing a Catholic's confession should be awe-inspiring for a priest, an experience that makes him look at his own life and willingness to convert, Pope Francis told a group of seminarians, new priests and priests who hear confessions in the major basilicas of Rome.

Published in Vatican

Lent should be a time for Catholics to spiritually prepare for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection and less about forgoing materialistic things.

Published in Faith

Penance in Medieval Europe, 600-1200 by Rob Meens (Cambridge University Press, softcover, 290 pages, $29.99).

At a time when the Sacrament of Penance is in decline, a new history of early Medieval penance helps put today’s apparent crisis in a much longer perspective. Rob Meens offers a scholarly overview of the formative period when sacramental confession emerged. He takes readers back to when Catholicism appeared very different from what we expect today, a journey which some might find unsettling, others enlightening.

Published in Book News

An American survey from more than a year ago showed that 45 per cent of people usually make New Year’s resolutions and another 38 per cent never make them. But only eight per cent of people are successful in achieving their resolutions. Self-improvement and weight-related resolutions are the most popular, followed by money-related and relationship-related vows.

Published in Guest Columns

VATICAN CITY - God is knocking to come into people's lives, so be attentive, humble and courageous to let him in, Pope Francis said.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - The secrecy of a confession is maintained so seriously and completely by the Catholic Church that a priest would be excommunicated for revealing the contents of a confession when ordered to testify by a court or even after the penitent dies, Vatican officials said.

Published in Faith

On a trip to Italy 11 months ago Catholic artist Timothy Schmalz discovered the nation’s love for St. Padre Pio. Creator of the acclaimed Jesus the Homeless sculpture, Schmalz was soon inspired to create a work of art to honour the Italian saint.

Published in Arts News

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana's Supreme Court has ruled that a priest may be compelled to testify as to what he heard in the confessional in 2008 concerning an abuse case.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Confession can help Catholics build lives filled with hope and holiness, which are needed for effective evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"New evangelization, therefore, also starts from the confessional," he told confessors and other participants attending a course sponsored by the Apostolic Penitentiary -- a Vatican court that that handles issues related to the absolution of sin.

New evangelization "draws its life blood from the holiness of the children of the church, from the daily journey of personal and communal conversion to adhere ever more deeply to Christ, he said in his address March 9.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - Priests hearing confessions need to replace any negative or aggressive attitudes with meekness and mercy toward the penitent, said a Vatican expert on confession.

The sacrament of reconciliation "has led to a unilateral overemphasis on the accusation and listing of sins," said Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court that handles issues related to the sacrament of penance.

The end result is that "the thing that is absolutely central when listening to sin, that is, the blessed embrace of the merciful Father, is put on the backburner," he said.

Published in Vatican
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