These priests are the "privileged witnesses" of the way in which this "sacrament of mercy" anticipates the Last Judgment.
For Advent, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, a Vatican official, sent a letter to the priests who hear confessions in the papal basilicas in Rome. The cardinal mentions the importance of this “sacrament of mercy” during the liturgical season of Advent.
“Your ministry, dear confessors, does not make any noise, but it works miracles,” says the cardinal.
Confessors, he adds, are the “privileged witnesses” of the way in which this “sacrament of mercy” anticipates the Last Judgment, for the salvation of all mankind.
In addition to preparing for Christmas, the liturgical season of Advent also signifies the expectation of Christ’s return at the end of time.
What does the word “Advent” mean?
Cardinal Piacenza also reminded confessors that they must guide penitents on the path of holiness, through a ministry of guidance and spiritual accompaniment.
Lastly, he said that confession “is a work truly at the service of the oft-mentioned human ecology, described by the pope in the encyclical Laudato Si’.” It does this by providing an “invisible but very effective benefit for human society as a whole.”