Statement of Commission for Evangelization at SBC: Let Us Revive the Service of Reconciliation

On Monday, January 25, 2021, the Commission for Evangelization at the Slovenian Bishops' Conference met to observe current developments in evangelization and provide incentives for pastoral workers. Among many issues in today's world, this year, the commission focuses on the importance of the sacrament of confession and the search for the essential during the coronavirus epidemic. Hence, it prepared the following statement on this topic.

During the coronavirus epidemic, caring for our body's health also reminds us of caring for the health of our spirit. Among the seven sacraments, holy confession and anointing of the sick are specially intended to heal our spirit. Anointing of the sick heals especially what corrupts in us after the holy confirmation (confirmatiounctio infirmorum!). The holy confession heals what corrupts in us after holy baptism (baptizatioabsolutio!): 'Baptizatio'is immersion, 'absolutio' is a release from the millstone that keeps us underwater (Mt 18: 6).

Apostle Paul conceived of his great mission also as a ministry of reconciliation, "We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God!" (2 Cor 5: 20). Apostle James commands his addressees, "If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot' (Jas 5: 16).

The psalmist reminds us how necessary and healing the confession is, "Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long. Night and day, your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat. So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, 'I'll tell the Lord each one of my sins.' Then you forgave me and took away my guilt' (Ps 32: 3-5).

"Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey" (CCC, 1776). The wise Sirach gives a visual comparison: "And trust your own judgment you care more about yourself than anyone else does. Thinking for yourself will often tell you more than if you had seven lookouts in a high tower" (Sir 37: 13-14).

The coronavirus epidemic itself directs our gaze to our interior, which is the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit (1 Co 6:19).

Msgr Dr Jurij Bizjak

Chairman of the Commission for Evangelization at SBC