Bishop John Arnold on the real quality of Confession

23/12/2015 10:55 am

Today's Advent reflection comes from Bishop John Arnold, the Bishop of Salford. He tells us that if we haven't been to Confession in quite a while, we can take our lead from Pope Francis:

"The Pope has said many times, I've heard him say it in front of tens of thousands of people in St Peter's Square 'I'm a sinner, I make mistakes'. The Pope makes mistakes and gets things wrong! I find that very refreshing but it's something we need to reflect on.
"The Pope goes into St Peter's Basilica and hears confessions and what’s more is he goes and kneels in front of a confessional to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation himself.

Bishop Arnold also helps us get a little perspective on Confession - that personal encounter with God.

"I believe in that spring clean when I stop and think about my life - think about my relationship with God and my neighbour - look at where it's not where it should be. It doesn’t take too long for something to bubble up to the surface and make me feel uncomfortable. I think that’s God's courtesy working through my conscience telling me that there is something here that needs forgiveness.

"Then if I can go and put that in however a clumsy way to a priest in a personal encounter, I believe I get that spring clean, that absolution, forgiveness for all that has gone wrong. I believe I can start again and feel refreshed and ready for that new start - a little bit wiser for what’s gone wrong.

"During the Year of Mercy, we have got a really good opportunity to think about this sacrament even if we have been distant from it for some time and to choose to experience the goodness from it. I'm sure that you will find the priest more than ready to welcome you and encourage you in all that you are doing."

Podcast Series

The Year of Mercy, given to us by Pope Francis, presents the ideal opportunity to focus on God's mercy and forgiveness.

To mark this, many of the Bishops of England and Wales have recorded special reflections for Advent. One podcast reflection will be uploaded every day throughout the season.


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