Vatican issues new document on confession and spiritual direction

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
11 Jul 2011

Benedict XVI has decided to relaunch confessions and spiritual direction. He will do this through a very expressive gesture: this summer he will sit in a confessional during World Youth Day in Madrid. A handful of young people will make their confessions with the pope. The Vatican also just published the document "The Priest, Minister of Divine Mercy - An Aid for Confessors and Spiritual Directors." It's a manual on how to be good confessors.

Msgr. Celso Morga
Secretary, Congregation for the Clergy

"It will help priests to rediscover the pastoral value of these simple actions. They are very simple, so they seem to have no pastoral power but are a very powerful ministry if we know how to administer them well and we are available to offer them."

The new document has been prepared by the Congregation for the Clergy and is signed by its prefect, Cardinal Mauro Picenze, as well as the number two of the Congregation, Archbishop Celso Morga.

The first part of the text explains the sacrament of Penance and gives practical advice on administering and receiving the sacrament. For example, it includes an examination of conscience meant for priests.

Msgr. Celso Morga
Secretary, Congregation for the Clergy

"The document encourages priests to be readily available for confession and spiritual direction and at the same time to frequently confess themselves and to have spiritual direction."

The second half of the text explains the doctrine of spiritual guidance, on how to help other souls, and how to be helped by a spiritual director.

The document has been sent to all bishops' conferences in the world, and is available on the web at