I am a rabid fan of Pope Francis. I believe he is a pope who gets it. I was with him from his first Angelus talk, the Sunday after his election, when he spoke about the infinite mercy of God. He’s risen higher in my esteem almost every day since then. I know he hasn’t changed Church teaching about gay people, but he has made me believe again that the Church has room for my gay self. I know he won’t ordain women, but I believe he will, and has already to some extent, include women in the governance of the Church. He is a humble, honest, and loving human being who is making needed changes in the culture of the Catholic Church, and in its practical (pastoral) theology. Such a change from the “intrinsically disordered” Ratzinger! Such a change from the finger-wagging JPII! Thank God for Pope Francis!
Last week, in selected parishes throughout the world, the Church had a marathon confession offering: certain parishes in every diocese stayed open for 24 hours to hear confessions in an attempt to bring people back to this less-than-popular sacrament. St. Peter’s in Rome kicked off this marathon by having a Liturgy of the Word followed by confessions. Pope Francis celebrated the Liturgy of the Word, then went out into the Basilica to hear confessions. His master of ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, showed the Pope to his confessional. The Pope, instead of sitting down in his confessional, went across the way to another priest in another confessional, knelt down, and made his confession while the cameras whirred. Amazing, this man!
It’s been 36 years since I went to confession. I do not like this Sacrament. I have had many unpleasant experiences in the box, and I decided when I was 31 that I didn’t need to put myself through that torture. So I haven’t. For a l o n g time. My last confession was before my wedding to Beni, in September, 1978.
Pope Francis speaks often about the experience of God’s mercy and forgiveness in the confessional, how good it is for our souls to have the assurance of God’s love that comes from the Sacrament. He has said that the confessional isn’t a torture chamber but a chamber of mercy, love, and unity. He promises us that the confessor will be gentle, understanding, and kind.
I hope to take Pope Francis up on this point tonight. If my courage holds, I want to go to confession and end this 36-year period of estrangement.
I’ll write here tomorrow. I’ll admit to going or to chickening out. If I go, I’ll report on the results.
We’ll see what happens.
Can one go to confession on-line?????????????
Pax et bonum.