The Italian National Liturgical Week this year will be on penance/confession/reconciliation. Here’s a snippet of the official letter sent by the pope’s Secretary of State to the Italian head of the Liturgical Week:
In this connection, in a message sent to the participants in the recent 20th course on the Internal Forum, promoted by the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Pontiff stated: “These days, the correct formation of believers’ consciences is without a doubt one of the pastoral priorities because, unfortunately, as I have reaffirmed on other occasions, to the extent that the sense of sin is lost, feelings of guilt increase which people seek to eliminate by recourse to inadequate palliative remedies. The many invaluable spiritual and pastoral tools that contribute to the formation of consciences should be increasingly developed” (Benedict XVI, March 12, 2009).
And he adds: “Like all the sacraments, the sacrament of Penance too requires catechesis beforehand and a mystagogical catechesis for a deeper knowledge of the sacrament: ‘per ritus et preces.’ … Catechesis should be combined with a wise use of preaching, which has had different forms in the Church’s history according to the mentality and pastoral needs of the faithful” (ibid.).
Along with an adequate formation of the moral conscience, maturity of life and celebration of the sacrament, it is necessary to foster in the faithful the experience of spiritual support. Precisely for this reason, the Pope continued to note, today “wise and holy ‘spiritual teachers'” are needed, exhorting priests to keep “ever alive within them the knowledge that they must be worthy ‘ministers’ of divine mercy and responsible educators of consciences,” inspired in the example of the Cure d’Ars, St. John Vianney, of whom precisely this year we observe the 150th anniversary of his death (cf. ibid.).
Good stuff… The whole thing is here.