Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pope Benedict: Penance and the New Evangelization

Pope Benedict on Friday received the participants in the annual course on the Internal Forum organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary.

At the heart of Pope Benedict’s address to those attending a course on the Internal Forum was the link between the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the New Evangelization.

The Pope told those gathered on Friday that the sacraments including that of the sacrament of Reconciliation should never be thought of as separate from the proclamation of the Gospel.

The Holy Father then posed a question; he asked, in what sense, is Confession the "road" for the new evangelization?

He answered this by saying that, the new evangelization draws nourishment from the holiness of the Church's children.

There is, the Pope continued a close link between holiness and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, witnessed by all the saints of history.

The actual conversion of hearts, the Holy Father said, which is to open up oneself to the transforming and renewing power of God, is the "engine" of any reform and results in the real strength of evangelization.

Pope Benedict added that in the confessional the repentant sinner, receiving Divine Mercy, is forgiven and sanctified, he or she abandons the old person and becomes the new person.

During his discourse the Holy Father also reiterated a call made by Blessed John Paul II to teach Christian communities about the importance of this sacrament which reveals Christ’s compassionate heart.

Speaking in particular to the priests and deacons preparing for the priesthood, the Pope said the Sacrament of Penance was an opportunity for them to be instruments of a renewed encounter with God adding that many people would be looking to them for a chance to change, to ask for mercy and above all to become credible witnesses to holiness, which Pope Benedict said is the goal of the new evangelization.

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