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Want to be an ecology-minded priest? Spend more time hearing confessions


Cardinal Piacenza reasons that with the world’s need for healing, the best solution is the sacrament.

The sacrament of reconciliation is “the greatest contribution that can be made to human ecology,” Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary Court, said this week.

The cardinal spoke during a lecture introducing the 30th annual course for confessors from all over the world, held March 25 to 29 this year by the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome.

The world, he pointed out, needs purification. In recent years, television and the internet have led to an “amplification of the evil through the media.” While the media can be used to evangelize, it is often “used for evil and not for good,” he lamented.

Faced with this omnipresence of evil, all believers need the sacrament of reconciliation, said the Italian cardinal. If “you want to be modern and ecologist priests, spend more time in the confessional,” he said. For the sacrament of reconciliation is “the greatest contribution that can be made to human ecology (…) and to the ecology of the world.”

Faced with the mystery of evil, people today speak of “error” rather than “sin,” Cardinal Piacenza said. In this way, “a person attributes to himself responsibility for his own negative acts, excluding the existence of original sin” and its negative consequences. By departing from “the presence and help of God,” contemporary man condemns himself to “dramatic solitude.” Yet Christianity is the only answer to the mystery of evil, he insisted.

In order to offer an integral formation for confessors from all over the world, John Paul II created this annual course in 1989. The oldest dicastery of the Roman Curia, the Apostolic Penitentiary was created in the face of the ever-increasing number of pilgrims going to Rome for the purpose of obtaining the forgiveness of their sins, and especially those for which only the Supreme Pontiff could give absolution.

Read more: “Thank you for being in the confessional,” pope tells priests

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