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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

To the Friars Minor Capuchin: the confessional is for forgiveness

Vatican City, 9 February 2016 (VIS) – "Yours is a tradition of forgiving, of granting forgiveness", said Pope Francis to Friars Minor Capuchin from all over the world who participated in the Mass celebrated at the Altar of the Cathedra in St. Peter's Basilica, on the occasion of the translation of the relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Leopold Mandic.

"There are great confessors among you: it is because they consider themselves sinners … and before God's greatness then continually pray, 'Hear us, Lord, and forgive'. And because they know how to pray, they know how to forgive; on the contrary, when one forgets the need to ask forgiveness, slowly one forgets God. … The humble, he who considers himself a sinner, is a great forgiver in the confessional", remarked the Holy Father in his homily.

"I speak to you as a brother, and in you I would like to speak to all confessors, especially in this Year of Mercy: the confessional is for forgiveness. And if you cannot give absolution – let us make this assumption – please, do not punish. The person who comes to you does so in search of consolation, forgiveness, peace in his soul; to find a father who embraces him and says, 'God loves you', and who makes him feel this. And, although I am sorry to say this, but many people say, and I think the majority of us have heard this, 'I never go to confess because once they asked me these questions, and they did this...'. Please".

"But you Capuchins have this special gift of the Lord: forgiveness. I ask you: never tire of forgiving. …There are many languages in life: the language of words, and there are also languages of gestures. If a person comes to me, to the confessional, it is because he or she has a burden they want to remove. … If they come it is because they wish to change, to be another person, and they say so through the gesture of coming. It is not necessary to ask questions: 'But you...?'. If a person comes it is because in their soul they do not want to continue. But very often they are unable to stop, because they are conditioned by their psychology, their life, their situation".

The Holy Father concluded by emphasising that forgiveness is "a seed, a caress from God", and urged the Capuchins to trust in the Lord as they have the charism of confessors. "Renew this always", he said. "And be great forgivers, because those who do not know how to forgive end up … accusing. And who is the great accuser, in the Bible? The devil! Either do the work of Jesus, who forgave giving His life … or do the work of the devil who condemns and accuses. I don't know what else to say to you. In you I say to everyone, to all the priests who go to confess. And if they do not feel like doing so, may they be humble and say, 'No, no, I will celebrate Mass, clean the floor, I will do everything but not confess, because I don't know how to do it well'. And ask the Lord for the grace, the grace I ask for each one of you, for all of you, for all confessors, and for me too".

Thirteenth meeting of the Council of Cardinals: synodality and sound decentralisation

Vatican City, 9 February 2016 (VIS) - The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father for a day and a half this week: Monday 8 February, morning and afternoon, and Tuesday 9 in the morning.

The cardinals concelebrated with the Pope in the Mass for the Friars Minor Capuchin on Tuesday morning at 7.30 in the Basilica, at the Altar of the Cathedral

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, was absent for health reasons. His absence was expected since the month of December, as he was expected to undergo a previously scheduled surgical operation.

As already expected at the end of the previous meeting, the first session consisted of a close examination of the Holy Father's discourse on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops (17 October). This discourse, which develops extensively the theme of "synodality", noting at the same time "the need to promote a sound decentralisation", constitutes an important point of reference for the work of reforming the Curia.

This was followed by a "final" reading of the proposals of the Council regarding the two new Dicasteries, mentioned previously: "Laity, family and life", and "Justice, peace, migration". The proposals were finalised and submitted to the Holy Father for his decisions.

Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, reported on the activities of the Commission for the Protection of Minors. The legal and disciplinary issues that fall under the jurisdiction of other Dicasteries of the Curia will need to be examined in further detail.

Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, reported on the status and implementation of reforms in the economic field.

The cardinals received documentation on the so-called "vademecum" prepared by the Tribunal of the Roman Rota for the implementation of reform on canonical procedures for the declaration of nullity of marriage.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 9 February 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:

- Bishop Miguel Angel Moran Aquino of San Miguel, El Salvador, as bishop of Santa Ana (area 3,463, population 1,533,000, Catholics 985,000, priests 113, religious 104), El Salvador. He succeeds Bishop Romeo Tovar Astorga, O.F.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

- Msgr. Bryan Peter Wells, assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, as apostolic nuncio in South Africa and Botswana, elevating him at the same time to the dignity of archbishop.

- Natasa Govekar, Slovakia, as director of the Theological-Pastoral Department of the Secretariat for Communication;

- Francesco Masci, Italy, head of the technical area of the Vatican Internet Service, as director of the Technological Directorate of the Secretariat for Communication.

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