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Pope Francis Goes To Confession In Public

The Pope surprised his own master of ceremonies and a priest when he knelt down to confess in public.

Pope Francis Goes To Confession In Public
Wikimedia Commons / Edgar Jiménez
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While leading a penitential liturgy at St. Peter's Basillica Friday, Pope Francis broke Vatican tradition yet again.

When it came to the point in the service for attendees to go to confession, the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies pointed him to an empty booth where he could go to hear the confessions of the faithful. That’s not what he did, though. (Via NPR)

The Pope walked over to a confessional and knelt before a priest in public. He then proceeded to confess his sins where everyone could see him. After he finished, the Pope went into a nearby empty confessional and heard confessions for about 40 minutes. (Via Catholic News Service)

The penitential liturgy the pope delivered opened an initiative called “24 Hours for the Lord.” The initiative is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.

For the initiative, the council asked dioceses around the world to keep one parish open for 24 hours where individuals would be able to confess or participate in Eucharistic Adoration. Confession requires a priest be present, and Adoration requires a consecrated host to be exposed, normally on a church altar, for the faithful to adore. (Via Catholic Herald)

The Pope has been known to break from tradition before. As a writer for The Washington Post noted, not long after he was ordained, the pope paid his own hotel bill, chose not to live in the palatial apartment popes have lived in for centuries and dressed in simpler vestments than his predecessors.