By Simon Caldwell on The Catholic Herald
Priests should grant absolution in the confessional even when the penitent has no intention to repent, the Pope has said in a speech which has shocked seminarians.
The Holy Father put aside a written speech, describing it as “boring”, and delivered an off-the-cuff address to seminarians from Barcelona, Spain, in which he frequently used foul language.
In his address, he ordered students for the priesthood “not to be clerical, to forgive everything”, adding that “if we see that there is no intention to repent, we must forgive all”.
“We can never deny absolution, because we become a vehicle for an evil, unjust, and moralistic judgment,” Francis reportedly told the seminarians, who were accompanied by the Auxiliary Bishop Javier Vilanova Pellisa of Barcelona.
Priests who deny penitents absolution are “delinquents”, the Pontiff said, according to the Church Militant website.
If accurate, the Pope’s remarks appear to put him at odds with the moral theology expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which emphasises that contrition occupies the “first place” of any act of a penitent and that it involves “the resolution not to sin again”.
Canon 987 of The Code of Canon Law also says that for the faithful to receive “the saving remedy of the sacrament of penance, they must be so disposed that, repudiating the sins they have committed and having the purpose of amending their lives, they turn back to God”.
According to reports, Francis also used his speech to rant against “f***ing careerists who f*** up the lives of others”.
The Pope also criticised “those who climb to show their a**”, the Italian media outlet Daily Compass reported.
The speech in December was the second time in two months that the Pope has dispensed with a prepared text on the grounds that it was boring.
Speaking to rectors and directors of seminaries in Latin America in November, he allegedly put down a 12-page written speech, saying: “It is a heavy thing, let us read it calmly”, before proceeding to deliver an extempore message, according to Vatican News.
Again, the Pope took issue with the rules about a penitent’s amendment of purpose being a necessary criteria for absolution.
He said that priests should “ask the permission of the bishop” before they dared to withhold absolution from people confessing mortal sins.
“This happens, please!” he said. “Our people cannot be in the hands of criminals. And a priest who behaves like this is a criminal, in every word. Like it or not.”
At the same meeting, Francis insisted that priests and seminarians must practice “closeness” with the laity.
The Pope said: “This must be contagious – that is, the priest, the seminarian, the priest must be ‘close’.
“Close to whom? To the girls of the parish? And some of them are, they’re close, then they get married, that’s fine.”
In his bestseller The Dictator Pope: The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy, author Henry Sire (Marcantonio Colonna) records several instances of the pontiff using expletives, saying he was “prodigal with bad language”.
According to Sire, Fr Peter Hans Kolvenbach, former superior general of the Jesuits, wrote a damning report on Fr Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 1991, accusing the future pope of “a series of defects, ranging from habitual use of vulgar language to deviousness”.
A good “rant” from Father Z on this prickly subject : ASK FATHER: Francis said priests must NEVER deny absolution. True? Wherein Fr. Z rants.
How extremely “rigid” of Francis to force absolution on unrepentant sinners! Does he believe he knows better than Our Blessed Lord, Who gave the power to His Apostles to hold back forgiveness in certain cases? Jesus said: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” (John 20:23)
That means there exist sins that do not deserve forgiveness yet.
A priest who finds himself in the difficult position of having to refuse absolution to someone who has admitted he will not (or feels he cannot) give up the sin in question, is actually doing the person a great favour! He is a holy, faithful priest.
The very fact that this person has gone to confession clearly indicates his desire to be forgiven by God through His ordained minister. Having been refused absolution he will leave the confessional anxious and weighed down by the sin(s) still on his conscience. If he has been taught the precepts of the True Faith, then he will know that an eternity in Hell is the final destiny of a soul who willingly continues in persistent mortal sin… a terrifying prospect! Surely this will shake him sufficiently into pleading God’s help and mercy to overcome his temptations, his weakness, and bring him back into a state of grace? Some of the Church’s greatest saints have been made by this humble struggle against their sins.
Our Blessed Lady at Fatima repeatedly requested that we pray and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.