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Have You Committed a Super-Serious Sin? Head for a Super-Confessor!

Melanie Radzicki McManus - How Stuff Works
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February 24, 2016
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A priest takes confession to a woman before the return of Pope Francis to Mexico City in February. (Diana Ulloa/AFP)

After being given supersized powers to forgive the gravest of sins, 1,142 Catholic priests and monks are now fanning out around the globe at the behest of Pope Francis. These so-called "missionaries of mercy" or "super-confessors," were dispatched by the pope on Feb. 10, which the Christian church celebrated as Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season of fasting and prayer.

The super-confessors have less than a year to perform their charitable works. The pope decided to commission them as part of his Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, a special 12-month period during which the Catholic Church is focusing on forgiveness, especially the forgiveness of Catholics who left the faith but now wish to return. The Year of Mercy began Dec. 8, 2015, and will end Nov. 20, 2016.

In the Catholic religion, most sins are forgiven through the sacrament of confession, performed by one's parish priest. Not so for those sins the church believes to be the most heinous. Since the 12th century, these most reprehensible sins, called "reserved sins," can only be forgiven by a bishop or the pope himself.

Reserved sins are so serious, not many people have committed them.

...The missionaries of mercy, who come from dioceses around the globe, all readily volunteered for their positions with the approval and recommendation of their superiors. Indeed, a far greater number of priests applied for the positions than expected.

Read the rest at How Stuff Works

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