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CNS: Pope hears confessions in the park at WYD

August 20, 2011
By Cindy Wooden / Catholic News Service
MADRID — Pope Benedict XVI began his third day in Madrid by hearing confessions in one of 200 portable confessionals set up in a park for World Youth Day pilgrims.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope offered the sacrament of reconciliation to four World Youth Day volunteers: two young men and two young women. The pope heard the confessions of two in French, one in German and the confession of a Spaniard in Italian.
While the pope used one of the same portable white confessionals that all penitents and priests in the park used, a white screen was placed around his to increase privacy.
Pope Benedict XVI leaves a confessional after offering the sacrament of reconciliation to four World Youth Day volunteers in Madrid's main park Aug. 20.
Organizers originally had said the pope would offer the sacrament to three young people.
“There was a fourth in case there was time,” Father Lombardi said. “They told the pope, ‘We have three young people, plus one in reserve,’ and the pope said, ‘What’s a reserve for confession?’”
“The pope wanted to give a sign of his personal participation for the importance of the sacrament of confession, which — as we know — in our day isn’t used as much as in previous eras.
“But the World Youth Days demonstrate its continuing relevance and the fact that when there is a clear, widespread and generous offer of the possibility for the sacrament of reconciliation, young Christians happily welcome it,” Father Lombardi said.
Credit: CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters
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