VATICAN CITY, 2 DEC 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Pope recalled the fact that today marks twenty-five years since the promulgation of John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation "Reconciliatio et paenitentia" which, said Pope Benedict, "drew attention to the importance of the Sacrament of Penance in the life of the Church.
"On this important anniversary", he added, "I wish to mention some outstanding figures of 'apostles of the confessional', tireless dispensers of divine mercy such as St. John Mary Vianney, St. Joseph Cafasso, St. Leopold Mandic and St. Pio of Pietrelcina.
"May their witness of faith and charity encourage you, dear young people, to shun sin and to plan your future as a generous service to God and mankind. May it help you, dear sick people, to experience the mercy of the crucified Christ in your suffering. May it stimulate you, dear newlyweds, to create a family in an abiding climate of faith and mutual understanding.
Finally, may the example of these saints, assiduous and faithful ministers of divine forgiveness be for clergy - and especially in the current Year for Priests - and for all Christians an invitation always to trust in the goodness of God, faithfully practicing and celebrating the Sacrament of Penance".
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