Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The new life in Christ, which we receive through the sacraments of Christian initiation can be weakened by the frailty of human nature, even be lost by sin. Therefore, Christ has the Church, which continues His work of salvation, has given the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and Anointing of the Sick. In the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation we receive the forgiveness of sins. This is not the fruit of our toil, but gift of the Holy Spirit, who immerses us in mercy and grace which flows from the open heart of the crucified and risen Christ. This takes place in the community of believers, the Church where the Holy Spirit is present. Therefore, it is not sufficient merely to ask the Lord quietly in the heart for forgiveness. It is necessary to confess one’s sins to the servant of the Church. The priest represents not only God, but the community of the Church, which gives the penitent reconciliation and accompanies him on the path of conversion. Too often we forget this sacrament or push it aside–for convenience, out of shame or because of a lack of consciousness of sin, that is based in a lack of consciousness of God. We make ourselves the measure of things, close ourselves to God and to others, and our conscience ultimately dies from it. Let us use the treasure which the Lord has entrusted to His Church in the Sacrament of Penance.
A warm welcome I say to the pilgrims from German-speaking countries. In the sacrament of penance and reconciliation we experience God’s merciful love, which gives us strength for penance and new life. Let us confidently go to confession so that we may renew the divine love and reconcile with God, with ourselves and with others. I cordially bless you all.
It is heartening to see that he had a printed transcript in his hand, which is the basis for the above quotation, but when he’s on-point, his impromptu charm can’t be beat: