Friday, 6 June 2014

Cardinal Piacenza writes again

I was disappointed when Cardinal Piacenza was moved from being Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy to be the Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary. I entirely accept the necessity of the work of Vatican officials and I do not envy them their task, but their important ministry does not usually affect me personally. In the case of Cardinal Piacenza, I used to look forward to receiving emails of his letters to clergy especially on the eve of great feasts. They offered solid, spiritually challenging, down-to-earth reflections for those of us at the coal face, and often helped with preparing sermons. I felt that he was not simply supervising clergy but actually speaking as one of us, with the genuine pastoral care that should be a mark of high office.

So I was delighted to find today that he has sent a letter to priests in his new capacity as Major Penitentiary. It is in his familiar fatherly style, starting off with the image of us gathered in the Cenacle with Mary, and speaking to us as brothers. He reflects on our ministry as confessors and comes up with a profound expression when he speaks of sacramental pardon as a "Pentecost for the soul." You can read the whole text at Zenit.

Dear Cardinal Piacenza, your letters are a great encouragement for us priests. We would love to continue hearing from you. May the Lord bless your priestly service at the heart of the Church.

Photo Credit: Irish College, Rome

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