Vatican City, 26 March, 2022 / 11:30 am (ACI Africa).
Pope Francis told hundreds of priests and seminarians on Friday that when they are hearing confessions, they should strive to accompany penitents along the path to greater holiness.
“The confessor always has as his goal the universal call to holiness, and to accompany discreetly to it,” the pope said on March 25, speaking about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, when a penitent Catholic discloses his or her sins to a priest or bishop, who acts in persona Christi, Latin for “in the person of Christ,” to grant God’s pardon and forgiveness.
“To accompany means to take care of the other person, walking together with him or her,” he continued. “It is not enough to indicate a goal, if you are not willing to walk even a stretch of road together.”
“However brief the confessional interview may be, from a few details you can understand the needs of the brother or sister: we are called to respond to them, accompanying them above all to the understanding and acceptance of God’s will, which is always the way of the greatest good, the way of joy and peace,” the pope stated.
Francis addressed around 800 priests and seminarians at the end of an annual course on the seal of confession and the internal forum, which is an extra-sacramental form of secrecy, or confidentiality, applied to spiritual direction.