Pope Francis has instructed some of his cardinals and archbishops to hear daily confessions at a Roman church outside of the Vatican, and the pontiff himself may even make an appearance, according to Dr. Robert Moynihan.
"We had been planning for this initiative for some time," Father don Jozef, the parish priest at the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, told Moynihan, the editor and founder of Inside the Vatican magazine. "It had been planned to begin in January. But this week the word came down that the Pope wished to begin immediately."
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When asked why Pope Francis might make a personal appearance to hear confessions, don Jozef said, "because he wishes to emphasize the importance of confession, and of God's great goodness in forgiving human sin."
The confession initiative, which was announced Sunday, keeps with the pope's habit of building a personal relationship with his followers. He's even earned the nickname "the people's pope" after reports claimed he personally called people who wrote him letters and sneaked out of the Vatican in disguise to minister to the poor
"The Holy Father told me at the beginning: You need to get out of the Vatican. Don't wait for people to come ringing. You need to go out and look for the poor," Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the Vatican Almoner, told The Associated Press
. "When I say to him, 'I'm going out into the city this evening,' there's the constant risk that he will come with me."
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