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The priest confesses what it means to hear confession

The priest confesses what it means to hear confession

Charles Pope He is the pastor of Holy Comforter Parish in Washington, DC. He studied theology and theology and was ordained a priest in 1989. In addition to being a pastor, he is also a retreat leader, spiritual director, writer, columnist, and blogger.

Aleteia I asked him what it was like to be a confessor for 24 years. Did it change at that time?

“Most importantly, I learned to encourage people to go deeper into their confessions.”

The priest says: It is okay for people to talk about what they did or did not do, but the deeper question is why? What are the deeper motivations?

When asked what he had learned from years of listening to people’s sins, he replied:

You taught me to be patient with the human condition. We all have our weaknesses and struggles.” The irony is that “people's struggles and strengths are often closely linked.”

Does hearing confession also have an emotional and psychological impact?

“My first experience when someone comes to confession is relief,” says Father Charles in surprise.

They have heard the Gospel and it leads them to repentance, but also to hope and grace.

“I'm so happy they're here, and this is the moment to be nice and listen to them.”

It's also important to “try to stay in the moment.” It's about trying to be with the person in that moment. For me it may have been confession number 30 that day, but that is not the case for the person sitting in front of me.

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His preparation for hearing confession consists mainly of going to confession every week. “Priests must go to confession often, otherwise we will not be effective confessors. I consider this important preparation.

After all these years, Father Charles considers hearing confessions a great and humbling gift. “It is special to sit there and do what Paul called the ‘ministry of reconciliation.’”

“I don't, it's really the Lord and that's very humbling.”

'Jesus takes on the person of the priest. The humanity of the priest is the essential bread of the sacrament of the priesthood. Jesus takes us and uses us. Stand up!'

A good confessor is one who listens well. He tells young priests that “90% consists of listening.”

“Ultimately, it comes down to the gift of listening with empathy.”

source: Aleteia (English)