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Quote:Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday: "Be more sensitive"

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis rubbed ashes on the bowed heads of prelates, nuns and ordinary Catholics Wednesday, and had them smudged on his own head, too, to usher in the Lenten season of prayer and sacrifice he said must be done out of authentic love, not to satisfy one's conscience.

The ritual, during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, symbolizes mortality. Catholics in churches worldwide were also marking Ash Wednesday with similar ceremonies. Lent is the annual period of penitence, prayers and sacrifice as faithful prepare for Easter.

"True love, indeed, is not an exterior act, it's not to give something in a paternalistic way to satisfy the conscience, but it is accepting those who need our time, our friendship, our help," Francis said in his homily.

The pope described Lent as a good time "to train ourselves to be more sensitive and merciful" to others. He added that Lent presents the occasion to practice simplicity and sharing.

The pope has proclaimed this year as a Holy Year of Mercy. He says people are hurt by the "evil they commit and suffer" and need to experience forgiveness.

Since becoming pontiff in 2013, Francis has stressed that the church needs to be less severe and judgmental.

Attending the Mass were some 700 "Missionaries of Mercy," of the more than 1,000 priests chosen from candidates worldwide to promote the pope's vision of mercy, especially to those who have strayed from the church and want to return to the flock. After the ceremony, they were to head to assignments to preach and hear confessions in Africa, Asia, North America, the Middle East and elsewhere during the Holy Year, which runs through Nov. 20.

This select corps of confessors received special permission from the pope to absolve extremely grave sins normally dealt with by diocesan bishops or Vatican officials. Among those sins are profaning a consecrated host or violating confessional secrecy.

Abortion is another such grave sin that in the eyes of the church must be absolved only by bishops or specially designated priests. But last year, Francis announced that, during the Holy Year, he is allowing all rank-and-file priests to grant such absolution to women who want to repent.

In Catholic teaching, abortion triggers automatic excommunication when the person is aware of the penalty and commits the sin anyway.

Francis said he realized that some women felt they had no choice but to make the "agonizing" choice to have an abortion.
I think there's  more to this story then what's here. I remember hearing yesterday (on mainstream media, so take it with a grain of salt) something about how he's instructing the priests to "not be so nosy" when people are confessing and not ask questions that could embarrass them, in the name of mercy.
Love is an exterior act...reflecting the interior disposition of the person. It is an act of the will.
(02-11-2016, 09:43 AM)PrairieMom Wrote: [ -> ]I think there's  more to this story then what's here. I remember hearing yesterday (on mainstream media, so take it with a grain of salt) something about how he's instructing the priests to "not be so nosy" when people are confessing and not ask questions that could embarrass them, in the name of mercy.

Since it's the mainstream media I also will take it with a grain of salt, but this seems to be making an issue out of nothing.  In the hundreds of times I've been to confession, I've only been asked an embarrassing question one time.
(02-11-2016, 01:29 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-11-2016, 09:43 AM)PrairieMom Wrote: [ -> ]I think there's  more to this story then what's here. I remember hearing yesterday (on mainstream media, so take it with a grain of salt) something about how he's instructing the priests to "not be so nosy" when people are confessing and not ask questions that could embarrass them, in the name of mercy.

Since it's the mainstream media I also will take it with a grain of salt, but this seems to be making an issue out of nothing.  In the hundreds of times I've been to confession, I've only been asked an embarrassing question one time.

That's been my experience as well. In nothing else, the silence of the priest while you're confessing is worse than any question you could be asked, because I find I keep talking to fill the silence, LOL.

The only thing I can think of is maybe this instruction goes with these "new" powers that have been extended for the Year of Mercy. Because it's very serious sins some priests might be hearing for the first time, the temptation may be to probe for more details for understanding, whereas with the "same old" sins there's a sort of laissez-faire because they know the story from hearing it so often.

On a side note, it suddenly occurred to me to pray for our priests to strengthen them when they hear confessions. It must be grinding and disheartening to hear all of this stuff day after day, week after week. Also, with the propensity for us, collectively, to have sins of a sexual nature, would hearing about those sorts of things even in general detail be tempting for them?

I had my share of bad confessors, but yes, embarrassing questions only one time (with a good confessor). I had it coming, though--I tend to be rather Jesuitical in my confessions.

I don't know what's the pope experience, but in my experience liberal priests are the worst.

(02-11-2016, 02:18 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: [ -> ]On a side note, it suddenly occurred to me to pray for our priests to strengthen them when they hear confessions. It must be grinding and disheartening to hear all of this stuff day after day, week after week. Also, with the propensity for us, collectively, to have sins of a sexual nature, would hearing about those sorts of things even in general detail be tempting for them?

Well, yes, one should be discrete. If one sleeps with some girl, one shouldn't go on and on about the things one did. Just be direct (especially if there's more people on the line).

And yes, hearing confessions must be cruel.
(02-11-2016, 02:18 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-11-2016, 01:29 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: [ -> ]
(02-11-2016, 09:43 AM)PrairieMom Wrote: [ -> ]I think there's  more to this story then what's here. I remember hearing yesterday (on mainstream media, so take it with a grain of salt) something about how he's instructing the priests to "not be so nosy" when people are confessing and not ask questions that could embarrass them, in the name of mercy.

Since it's the mainstream media I also will take it with a grain of salt, but this seems to be making an issue out of nothing.  In the hundreds of times I've been to confession, I've only been asked an embarrassing question one time.

That's been my experience as well. In nothing else, the silence of the priest while you're confessing is worse than any question you could be asked, because I find I keep talking to fill the silence, LOL.

The only thing I can think of is maybe this instruction goes with these "new" powers that have been extended for the Year of Mercy. Because it's very serious sins some priests might be hearing for the first time, the temptation may be to probe for more details for understanding, whereas with the "same old" sins there's a sort of laissez-faire because they know the story from hearing it so often.

On a side note, it suddenly occurred to me to pray for our priests to strengthen them when they hear confessions. It must be grinding and disheartening to hear all of this stuff day after day, week after week. Also, with the propensity for us, collectively, to have sins of a sexual nature, would hearing about those sorts of things even in general detail be tempting for them?

When someone confesses having an abortion or desecrating the Eucharist, the priest definitely shouldn't just rattle off some generic, feel-good advice and move on.  Those sins are very serious, are evidence for very serious spiritual problems, and the issues must be addressed.  I think the idea of Missionaries of Mercy is a great one.  It would be nice for dioceses to have priests who are known to be especially good confessors to be made particularly accessible to those in great need.  If the one I met is an indication of what they're looking for, however, I don't hold out much hope.