Vatican City, Apr 6, 2020 / 10:21 am
In an Easter letter to confessors on Saturday, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary wrote that while 'social distancing' is necessary amid the coronavirus, 'mercy does not cease'.
Despite the restrictions placed by many civil and ecclesial governors, “Mercy does not cease and God does not distance himself,” Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the Major Penitentiary, wrote April 4.
“The social distancing required for health reasons, while necessary, cannot and must never turn into ecclesial distancing, let alone theological-sacramental distancing,” he added.
The Apostolic Penitentiary is the Holy See's tribunal with responsibility for the internal forum and indulgences.
Cardinal Piacenza recalled his March 19 decree granting plenary indulgences to those suffering from Covid-19, asd well as health-care workers, their family, and those who care for them in any capacity; as well as an attached note on the sacrament of confession calling for reflection on its “urgency and centrality.”
In his letter to confessors, the Major Penitentiary wrote: “Mercy does not cease because where ordinary celebration of the sacrament is impossible, we are committed to pray, to console, to present souls to divine Mercy, fulfilling that priestly role of intercessors, which was conferred on us on the day of ordination.”
“Mercy does not cease because we all need the closeness and the 'caress' of Jesus, which also materializes in a moment of listening and dialogue, capable of opening a perspective of hope and light, in this circumstance of trial.”
Mercy “is expressed in the pastoral creativity of so many confreres,” he said, “who try in every way to make themselves close to the people entrusted to them, giving testimony of faith, courage, fatherhood, fully living their priesthood.”