DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     September 17-19, 1999     vol. 10, no. 177

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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John Paul II Urges Reconciliation

        VATICAN CITY, SEP 15 (ZENIT).- The drama of contemporary man is the loss of hope in God's forgiveness, John Paul II said to more than 10,000 pilgrims from all over the world who attended his traditional Wednesday morning audience in St. Peter's Square. The Pope focused on the sacrament of Reconciliation, within the context of eternity and Christian life, to prepare Christians for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

    Culpability Forgotten

        The Pontiff began by saying that it is urgent for the Church to reflect deeply on God's forgiveness, offered to man through Confession. "This is necessary, above all, because of the Father's love as the foundation of Christian life and action, in the context of contemporary society where very often the ethical dimension of human existence is forgotten . Many have lost the sense of good and evil because they have lost the sense of God, interpreting culpability strictly from psychological and sociological points of view," the Pope explained.

        The Church "must give new impetus to a journey of growth in faith, which emphasizes the value of the spirit and practice of penance in Christian life," he added.

    Freedom from Anxiety: Forgiveness

        In fact, the anxiety and sadness that often characterize man at the end of the century can be readily explained. It is the despair of the person who feels he cannot be forgiven. But, on the contrary, the central message of Christianity is the news of God's love that forgives everything. In the Pope's own words, Reconciliation "is a new encounter with one's own interior truth, disturbed and upset by sin, a liberation in the deepest center of one's being and with this, the recovery of lost joy, the joy of being saved, which the majority of the men of our time no longer experience."

        The anxiety of the man who lives away from God's forgiveness, is one of the great challenges of evangelization. Because of this, John Paul II wished to give personal and concrete advice to missionaries at the end of the millennium.

    Very Personal Advice

        The Pope began by addressing priests themselves, to whom he said that "to be good confessors, they themselves must be authentic penitents. Confessors must not be careless about their own perfection and progress, in order not to fail in those human and spiritual qualities that are so necessary in relating to consciences."

        The Holy Father also invited the entire Christian community to take part in what he called "the pastoral renewal of Reconciliation."

        He explained that in a reconciled and reconciling community sinners can find the lost way and help from their brothers once again." In fact, "through the Christian community a solid way of charity can be devised, which will make the forgiveness received visible through good works, the reparation done for evil, and the hope of finding again the merciful arms of the Father." ZE99091505

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

September 17-19, 1999       volume 10, no. 177


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