Addresses Participants in Course on Internal Forum
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The sacrament of confession should not only be at the center of pastoral concerns, but it should also be a method to carry out a "dialogue of salvation" with the faithful, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this today upon receiving in audience participants in the annual course on the internal forum promoted by the Apostolic Penitentiary, which is under way in the Vatican through Friday.
Noting that the course takes place this year during the Year for Priests, which marks the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, known as the Curé d'Ars, the Pontiff spoke of the sacrament of penance as understood by the famous confessor.
"From the Holy Curé d'Ars we priests can learn not only an inexhaustible trust in the sacrament of penance, which drives us to put it at the center of our pastoral concerns, but also the method of the 'dialogue of salvation' that should be carried out in it," the Pontiff said.
Benedict XVI first noted St. John Mary Vianney's "intense personal penitential dimension" as essential to the life of any priest: "Only one who has first experienced its greatness can be a convinced herald and administrator of the Mercy of God."
The Pontiff also spoke of how the holy Curé d'Ars made "the church his home": He lived radically the spirit of prayer, the personal and intimate relationship with Christ, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration and evangelical poverty."
This personal holiness, he said, made Father John Mary Vianney "an evident sign of the presence of God, which drove so many penitents to approach his confessional. "
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