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Pope urges weekly Confession

Pope John Paul II has called attention to the importance of sacramental Confession in the spiritual lives of all Catholics, especially priests.

The Holy Father recommended the practice of weekly confession, which he follows himself. He said that "those who go to Confession frequently, and do so with the desire to make process" will notice the strides that they make in their spiritual lives.

"It would be an illusion to seek after holiness, according to the vocation one has received from God, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion and reconciliation," he said.

He said it provides spiritual assistance other than the remission of sins. Penance, he said, "involves purification, in both the act of the penitent, who lays bare his conscience because of the deep need to be pardoned and reborn."

For priests, he said, the sacrament is a dual gift, since priests "are called to exercise the sacramental ministry and also to have our own sins pardoned." He said that "the joy of pardoning and being pardoned go hand in hand."

The Pope spoke on Saturday to participants in a conference organised by the tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, under the direction of Catholic James Stafford. Each year during Lent, the Apostolic Penitentiary brings together seminarians and priests who hear confessions in the basilicas of Rome, to discuss the sacrament and to receive the Pope's encouragement and direction.

Pope encourages frequent Confession (Catholic World News 29/3/04)

Frequent confession necessary on the path to holiness (Vatican Information Service 27/3/04)
Weak Sense of Sin Seen Undermining Use of Confession (Zenit 26/3/04)
Theologians, historian explore decline in confessions (Catholic News Service 24/3/04)
Apostolic Penitentiary

30 Mar 2004