Pope Francis Tells Priests to Give "time to listening to confessions, and doing it well, with love, with wisdom and with a lot of mercy." FULL TEXT
OF SANTA MARIA DELL'ANIMA IN ROME
Thursday, April 7, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
I welcome you on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the election of Hadrian VI, the penultimate Pope from the Germanic world, who is buried in the church of your Pontifical College, the Institute of Santa Maria dell'Anima.
Adriano Florensz was born in Utrecht, which was then part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. He received an excellent education at the University of Louvain; he was tutor of the future emperor Charles V and then, after having carried out important ecclesiastical and political tasks, rose to the highest offices and was created Cardinal in 1517. When the news of his election as Bishop of Rome reached him, at first he hesitated, but out of a sense of duty he finally accepted.
In his short pontificate, which lasted only a little over a year, he sought above all reconciliation in the Church and in the world, putting into practice the words of Saint Paul according to which God entrusted the ministry of reconciliation precisely to the Apostles (cf. 2 Cor 5 , 18ss). So he sent Nuncio Chieregati to the Diet of Nuremberg to reconcile Luther and his followers with the Church and expressly asking forgiveness for the sins of the prelates of the Roman Curia. Courageous! Today he would have a lot of work!
In the political sphere, overcoming many resistances, he strove to reach an understanding between the two neighboring powers, King Francis I of France and the Emperor Charles V of Habsburg, also so that they could, together, stem the increasingly threatening designs of conquest by the Ottoman army. Unfortunately Pope Adrian, due to his untimely death, was unable to complete any of these projects. Nonetheless, his testimony as a fearless and tireless worker for faith, justice and peace remains alive in the memory of the Church.
Dear brothers and sisters, may the example of Pope Adrian's life and work spur you on to grow in your vocation as servants of Christ. May the Lord support you in your ministry and lead you to a faith more and more rooted in his love for him, lived with joy and dedication. In particular, thinking of his concern for the promotion of harmony and reconciliation, I urge you to follow in his footsteps especially in your being ministers of the Sacrament of Penance. This is important: the confessor's job is to forgive, not torture. Be merciful, great forgivers, so the Church wants you. This means giving time to listening to confessions, and doing it well, with love, with wisdom and with a lot of mercy. But not only. This ministry also involves preaching, catechesis, spiritual accompaniment; and it requires first of all - as always - witness. To be a good servant of Christ's forgiveness, a priest must know how to forgive others; he must be merciful in his relations, be a man of peace, of communion. May Our Lady help you in this.
I thank you for your visit. I wish you all the best and accompany you with my prayers and my blessing. And you too, please, do not forget to pray for me, because this work is not easy! Thank you.