The Pope explained that this link shows the human being's need for God's forgiveness, which takes place through the sacrament of confession.
The Holy Father said this today when in an audience with recently ordained priests who are taking a course on the internal forum offered by the Apostolic Penitentiary. The internal forum deals with cases involving conscience.
The Pontiff said that in the modern world, one perceives "a humanity that would like to be self-sufficient, since many think they can live well without God."
And yet, he observed, "how many seem to be sadly condemned to address tragic situations of existential emptiness, how much violence there is still on earth, how much loneliness weighs on the spirit of man of the age of communication!"
Yoke of death
"In a word," Benedict XVI said, "it seems that today the 'sense of sin' has been lost, but instead 'guilt complexes' have increased."
He continued: "Who will be able to free the heart of men from this yoke of death, if not the one who by dying defeated it forever by the power of divine love?
"In the sacrament of confession, the priest is instrument of that merciful love of God."
The Holy Father asserted that the "commitment of the priest and of the confessor consists primarily of this: to lead each person to experience the love of Christ, encountering him on the path of life."
It is imperative, the Pope said, "that the priest, the minister of the sacrament of reconciliation, always feel it is his task to reflect, in deed and in the way of approaching the penitent, the merciful love of God."