- Jul 26, 2021
A parishioner and army veteran wrote to me and said, “When we were getting ready to deploy… we broke all kinds of rules under the aegis of ‘we’re going to war.’ I think you’re afforded the same degree of protection for making expedient decisions.”
Pope Francis marked Divine Mercy Sunday in the Roman church Church of Santo Spirito, which was half empty yet filled with male and female prisoners from three local prisons, a migrant family from Argentina, refugees coming from Syria, Nigeria and Egypt, and religious sisters who work in a local hospital.
Every confessor should understand he is a sinner, forgiven by God, and he is there to offer his brothers and sisters — sinners, too — the same divine mercy and forgiveness he has received, Pope Francis said.
Offering general absolution to the faithful without having them personally confess their sins first may still be done in places seeing serious or increasing levels of coronavirus infections, a Vatican official said.
Even though the world is facing a pandemic that may limit many people’s ability to celebrate the sacraments, particularly those people who are in isolation, quarantining or hospitalized with COVID-19, confession by phone is still most likely invalid, said Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
A new law requires priests in the state of Queensland to break the seal of confession to report child sex abuse to police or face three years in jail.
Although reaffirming the principle that the seal of confession can never be violated, the Vatican has told Church leaders in Australia that victims of sexual abuse should be encouraged to report abuse to the proper authorities.
With COVID restrictions lifting, pastors looking to welcome faithful back should rethink their confession schedules — and start talking more about the sacrament in the pulpit.