· Conference of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the ‘Misericordiae Vultus’ ·
When making confession, the penitent should find in the confessor priest a great, silent, fatherly embrace that says “welcome home”. This image was offered by Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, at the conclusion of a conference on the Misericordiae Vultus. The conference on the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee was sponsored by the said dicastery and took place on 31 March to 1 April. Thanks to this image of the confessor, the Regent emphasized, this Year of Mercy has brought back to the confessional “many people who for many years had refrained from the Sacrament of Reconciliation”. Likewise, there has been a rediscovery of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, which Pope Francis has specifically asked the faithful to practice generously.
Bishop Nykiel recommended that every confessor “welcome the faithful as the father of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, showing the tenderness of the Father always ready to grant us his forgiveness”. In so doing, the prelate explained, the confessor merely receives what God has brought to bear in peoples’ hearts: “the new life of children whom God alone can lift up” and whom the confessor priest “simply assesses and welcomes”. This is the reason that the Pontiff, in the Bull of Indiction of the Holy Year, asks that “confessors be authentic signs of the Father’s mercy”, called as “a sign of the primacy of mercy always, everywhere, and in every situation, no matter what”. The Regent explained that the entire conference was like a “great celebration” and “a hymn of praise” to the mercy of God.