I’m generally enthusiastic about Pope Francis, but I do wonder why does he keep going on and on to his bishops and clergy about the need to be kind and gentle and merciful?
In Cuba he told the priests not to be harsh and judgmental in the confessional.
To the bishops today he told them to be gentle and kind.
I’ve never had anything but kindness and gentleness from a priest to whom I was confessing and I’ve only heard of two instances from other people who have reported a priest being harsh or unkind in the confessional, and okay, that particular priest was an old grump, and a stickler from the old school.
Most of the time, if anything, I reckon the priests are too easy going, kind and gentle.
In fact, when do we hear from the pulpit any condemnation of sin, any judgement about the hurt and pain sin causes and any stern warnings?
I’m all for being kind and gentle, and I agree with the pope’s emphasis on mercy, but I can’t remember him speaking equally about the need for repentance, penance, true contrition and the need to make reparation for our sins.
How can we receive mercy unless we ask for it and how shall we ask for it if we are not repentant and how shall we be repentant unless we are told what God expects and what we have to repent of?