Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

 CNS Story:

POPE-BRAZIL Sep-27-2010 (320 words) xxxi

Forgiveness is backbone of real reform, pope says

By Catholic News Service

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Forgiveness is the backbone of all true reform, both in the life of an individual Christian and in the life of the whole church community, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Today's spiritual crisis, in fact, is rooted in "obscuring the grace of forgiveness," the pope said Sept. 25 as he met with a group of bishops from Brazil.

The bishops were making their "ad limina" visits to Rome to report on the status of their dioceses.

When forgiveness and the sacrament of reconciliation are not recognized as being "real and effective," people tend to feel free from guilt because "the conditions for the existence of (guilt) are never verified" or examined, the pope said.

However, even though people may think they are free from guilt, "deep down they know it's not true, they know that sin exists and that they themselves are sinners," he said.

No one is "so cold as to not experience feelings of guilt," he said, adding that such feelings are necessary "for the health of the soul."

Everyone needs God "to remove the layers of dust and filth that have collected on God's image inscribed in us," Pope Benedict said.

The layers of sin make God's image within each person unrecognizable, he said. When those layers are removed, the individual begins to look like Christ and more like everyone else who has become more Christ-like through purification, said the pope.

"We need forgiveness, which is the backbone of every real reform," he said.

The renewal of the individual "also becomes the core of the renewal of the community," he said. When people realize that it is Christ who lives in them, they are "torn from isolation and welcomed" into the community of believers, the pope said.

The church accompanies each individual in the process of purification, which can start out as a long, arduous process, but will always become more joyful, he said.


Copyright (c) 2010 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250