Pope calls for caring, faithful confessors


Author: Radio Vaticana

Continuing his cycle of lessons on the Doctors of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI told believers Wednesday that prayer and confession are the best antidotes to our era marked by “signs of loss of conscience and morality”.

Outlining the legacy of an 18th century Neapolitan Saint, Alphonsus Liguori, during his Wednesday catechesis, the Holy Father spoke of the obvious “lack of esteem” for the sacrament of confession among Catholics today and urged priests to adopt a more “charitable, understanding and gentle attitude” towards penitents while always remaining faithful to Catholic moral teaching.

As a young man, the founder of the Redemptorists Order, observed the Pope was “an outstanding eighteenth-century preacher, scholar and Doctor of the Church. Alphonsus left a brilliant career as a lawyer to become a priest, and greatly contributed to the renewal of the Church in his native Naples”.

“He began as a missionary among the urban poor, gathering small groups for prayer and instruction in the faith. Broadening his pastoral outreach, he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer – the Redemptorists – as a group of itinerant missionaries. Alphonsus’ pastoral zeal also found expression in his moral teaching, which emphasized divine mercy and the relationship between God’s law and our deepest human needs and aspirations. His many spiritual writings, marked by a deep Christological and Marian piety, stressed the practice of prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament”.

“May this great Doctor of the Church, venerated also as the patron of moral theologians, help us to respond ever more fully to God’s call to grow in holiness, and inspire in priests, religious and laity a firm commitment to the new evangelization”.

Radio Vaticana

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