|Pope Francis' reflections
Confession 'not a dry cleaners'
While people must be honest and specific about their sins when they go to confession, they will miss the sacrament's key grace if they are "completely mechanical" about listing their sins. Confession is not a time for judgment, but for an encounter with the merciful God who is always ready to forgive those who seek pardon, the pope said Jan. 23 during Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. "So many times, confessions seem like routine, a formality," he said. "Blah, blah, blah. Completely mechanical!" Parents, priests and catechists need to teach people how to "confess well, because going to confession is not like going to the dry cleaners to have a stain removed. No! It is going to meet the Father, who reconciles, forgives and celebrates" the return of the sinner. "God always forgives. He never tires of forgiving. We are the ones who tire of asking forgiveness, but he never tires of forgiving us. … You don't have to pay anything" because "Christ has paid the price for us."
— Pope Francis hears confession in St. Peter's Basilica March 28.
L'Osservatore Romano/Reuters, cns