The Church, however, is not the master of forgiveness, but its servant.
The Church accompanies us on our journey of conversion for the whole of our lives and calls us to experience reconciliation in its communal and ecclesial dimension. We receive forgiveness through the priest. Through his ministry, God has given us a brother to bring us forgiveness in the name of the Church. Priests, who are the servants of this sacrament, must recognize that they also are in need of forgiveness and healing, and so they must exercise their ministry in humility and mercy. Let us then remember always that God never tires of forgiving us. Let us truly value this sacrament and rejoice in the gift of pardon and healing that comes to us through the ministry of priests.
The Pope said today:
Even I go to Confession every 15 days, because the Pope is also a sinner. And the confessor listens to what I tell him, he advises me and absolves me, because we are all in need of this forgiveness. Penitents have the obligation? No. They have the right! We have the right, all of us, to find in priests, the servants of forgiveness from God.
Humility and mercy need to be the defining characteristics of our life and our ministry. As a friar and as a priest I feel the challenge that the Pope is placing before me every day. I want to be that priest. You've probably seen the humorous comic strip that says, "I wish I were the man that my dog thinks I am." Well, I really want to be the priest that this Pope is not only calling me to be, but is showing me how to be each and every day of his pontificate.
"God never tires of forgiving." He also never tires of welcoming and hoping and loving us to be the very people He created us to be.