05 July 2011

Pope to hear confessions at WYD

Sandro Magister brings to our attention two important elements Pope Benedict XVI has introduced to World Youth Day.  In 2005, he introduced adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  In 2011, he will himself hear the confessions of some of the pilgrims.

A part of Magister's text follows, with my emphases:
ROME, July 5, 2011 - World Youth Day is not an invention of Benedict XVI, but of his predecessor.

Pope Joseph Ratzinger, however, has introduced two very significant innovations.

The first was in Cologne, in the summer of 2005. At the culmination of the nighttime vigil, Pope Benedict knelt before the consecrated host. At length, and in silence. With hundreds of thousands of young people touched by this act of adoration.

Since then, with Pope Benedict, silent Eucharistic adoration has become a constant not only of the World Youth Days, but also of other mass gatherings, for example the vigil in Hyde Park in London, on September 18, 2010.

The second innovation will be introduced in Madrid, on the morning of next August 20, in the Jardines del Buen Retiro. At the 26th World Youth Day, which will be held in the Spanish capital, the pope will administer the sacrament of confession in public, for one hour before celebrating the Mass in the cathedral.

To be precise, the confessions have been part of the program of the World Youth Days ever since the one held in Rome in 2000, when the Circus Maximus became for many hours the largest open-air confessional in memory.

But until now, the pope had never dedicated himself to hearing the confessions of young people in person, during a World Youth Day.

John Paul II used to spend a few hours in a confessional in the basilica of Saint Peter once a year, on Wednesday of Holy Week.

Benedict XVI has repeated this action only two times, until now: in two penitential celebrations with the young people of the diocese of Rome, in the basilica of Saint Peter, on the Thursday before Palm Sunday, March 29, 2007 and March 13, 2008.

But that the sacrament of confession is at the center of his pastoral care is beyond doubt.

He has spoken of it many times. Above all to priests. For the Year for Priests he held between 2009 and 2010, he proposed as a model the Curé d'Ars, a saint who spent more than ten hours in the confessional every day, with penitents who flocked to him, a humble rural pastor, from all over France.
Magister has many fine links at the end of his full article in which the Pope speaks of confession.

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