Pope Francis called for the Sacrament of Confession to be restored “to the place it deserves,” elevated in Catholic life and ministry.

The Holy Father’s comments on confession come from his homily during a Lenten penitential liturgy last Friday in Saint Peter’s Basilica.

“Let us restore to this sacrament the place it deserves in life and pastoral ministry!”

Pope Francis called confession the “passage from misery to mercy,” and that being pardoned for your sins through a priest in persona Christi is “always a new, distinctive and unique experience.”

“We pass from being alone with our miseries to being raised up and encouraged by the Lord who grants us a new start.”

Pope Francis recommended Faithful to spend time looking at a crucifix after giving their confession, as it would be beautiful to remain with “eyes fixed on Jesus who has just set us free: no longer looking at our miseries, but rather at his mercy.”

“To look at the Crucified One and say with amazement: ‘That’s where my sins ended up. You took them upon yourself. You didn’t point your finger at me; instead, you opened your arms and forgave me once again. For this is the heart of Confession: not the sins we declare, but the divine love we receive, of which we are ever in need'”

Following his homily, Pope Francis led a silent examination of conscience before hearing the confessions of penitents in Saint Peter’s Basilica.

“Only by being forgiven can we set out again with fresh confidence, after having experienced the joy of being loved by the Father to the full.”

You can read the full homily of His Holiness Pope Francis here.

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