VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has taken to task priests who are so harsh on sinners that faithful feel pushed away by the church.
Francis said during his homily in St. Peter's Basilica Sunday that he feels very pained when people don't go to confession anymore because they were figuratively "caned, scolded" by their confessors. He said these faithful feel as if "the church doors were closed in their face."
"Please don't do this," the pope told 13 new priests he ordained in the basilica. He urged them to follow the example of Jesus in never tiring of being merciful. Francis said priests should remember that Jesus "didn't come to condemn but to forgive."