Fr. Reggie Malicdem, Rector of the Manila Cathedral, encouraged the faithful not to be afraid or embarrassed to go to confession and be more open to its “healing power”.
Catholics he said, should not let fear keep them from receiving the peace the sacrament provides. He said that being ashamed or scared are common feelings and reasonable for people to feel that way because it’s somehow part of the process of asking for an apology. “That’s humility but let us not allow them to keep us from experiencing this unique gift the church provides for the faithful,” Fr. Malicdem said.
“Don’t be scared or ashamed so that you will see and receive the benefit from the Sacrament of Confession because we know that God’s mercy is infinite,” he said. He added that a common question asked regarding the sacrament is why Catholics should confess to a priest when they can pray directly to God. He said God could have easily communicated to humanity directly but He didn’t do that, he used the people to relay his message instead. In the same way, he said God established priesthood of imperfect men as instruments to convey his love, mercy and forgiveness.
“When saying sorry you want someone to listen to you and you want to hear that you are being forgiven. In the Church we use tangible elements of our faith,” Malicdem said. “Even us priests confess our sins to our fellow priests. We cannot absolve our own sins and the priest is our instrument,” he added.
The Rector also said that confession does not start from entering the confessional but it requires preparation by expressing sincere sorrow for sins and a firm purpose not to commit them again. “And so anyone wishing to confess must possess contrition before confession which helps us to express how we feel about getting it wrong,” he said.
Many churches across the country have started allotting more time for the faithful to encounter Jesus Christ in the sacrament of Penance this Holy Week.