Vatican City, Mar 29, 2019 / 09:28 am
Pope Francis told priests and seminarians Friday that the sacrament of penance is “the way of sanctification” in which miraculous conversions occur.
“Every single confession is always a new and definitive step towards a more perfect sanctification; a tender embrace, full of mercy, which helps to expand the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of love, truth and peace,” Pope Francis said March 29 at the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. He was addressing participants in a course on the internal forum organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary.
“Sacramental confession is the way of sanctification for both the penitent and the confessor. And you, dear young confessors, you will soon experience it,” he said.
“As confessors, we have the privilege of constantly contemplating miracle conversions,” Francis said.
“Grace operates within the secrecy of the confessional miracles of which only and the angels will be witnesses,” he added.
Before turning to his prepared text, Pope Francis emphasized the gravity of the internal forum: “This is not a nonsense expression: it is said seriously. The internal forum is an internal forum, and cannot come out into the open.”
“I say this because I have realized that some groups in the Church, appointees, superiors, let us say – mix the two things and take decisions made in the internal forum for those taken in the external one, and vice versa. Please, this is a sin!”
The pope's discussion of the blurring of the distinction between the internal and external fora would appear to be aimed at religious superiors and seminary formators.