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REDISCOVER THE BEAUTY OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 21, 2002 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos and Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, prefect and secretary respectively of the Congregation for Clergy, presented the "Letter of the Holy Father John Paul II to Priests for Holy Thursday, 2002."

Archbishop Ternyak said that the Pope's Letter "has as a central theme
the sacrament of Reconciliation, more specifically individual confession.
"Perhaps it may be surprising," he said, "that the Pope again touches on a
topic already addressed last year."

Cardinal Castrillon highlighted three aspects of the Letter's content;
firstly, "the intimate connection of the sacrament of Reconciliation with
the Eucharist, 'source and summit of all Christian life'". After
emphasizing that the Eucharist "is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal
sins, the letter emphasizes the importance for each priest to rediscover
and make all people rediscover the richness of the forgiveness of God."

"Secondly," the cardinal continued, "it is affirmed that sacramental
confession is man's very special, personal and redemptive conversation with
Christ who forgives. If many people have lost the dimension of good and
evil, it is because they have lost the meaning of God, interpreting the
offense above all according to psychological and sociological perspectives."

He added: "It is necessary that the announcement of reconciliation, the
path of conversation and the celebration itself of the sacrament shine
greatly and touch the intimacy of the human heart. ... Priests know that
they are good confessors if they themselves are humble and frequent
penitents."

The Letter presents in conclusion "the biblical image of Jesus' encounter
with Zacchaeus, an admirable manifestation of the divine mercy that
prepares and leads the penitent man to sincere, existential conversion: to
open oneself up to love, to reparation for the wrong committed and to a
firm resolution of new life."

With respect to the problem of serious scandals caused by some priests in
various countries, Cardinal Castrillon said that "the Holy Father expresses
the concern of the whole Church for the victims of these painful situations
and invites all priests to trust in the cleansing power of grace, to
embrace the 'mysterium Crucis' and to commit themselves further to seeking
sanctity."
OP/LETTER PRIESTS/CASTRILLON:TERNYAK VIS 20020321 (380)

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