Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Padre, me accuso de ... "

That's how so many of the Spanish confessions I hear begin. At some point, this must have been the formula that many learned. "Father, I accuse myself of ... "

I like it. A lot. It is self abnegating. It is humble. It gets right to the point. No beating around the bush. No dawdling. Father, I accuse myself. I am a sinner.

In that interview which is making all kinds of waves today in the media (How long can people live with this ache, "Oh finally, the Church is going to become what I want her to be!"), that is how Pope Francis answers the very first question. "Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?"

"I am a sinner."

He means it. He is an utterly sincere and honest man.

He even gives examples. When talking about his leadership style, he accuses himself of being too authoritarian, too controlling. A remarkable disclosure in an interview that will be followed by millions. No politician would dare speak with such candor (unless it be, perhaps, after a scandalous exposé).

"Father, I accuse myself."

What do you accuse yourself of? Where do you know you need healing? Forgiveness? Make yourself little. He must increase but I must decrease. The very first step of healing, of return, is to acknowledge one's real condition. We are all sinners. We all need mercy. (If there were no sin, there would be no need for mercy!) God is waiting with open arms.

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