An Inside Look at Pope Francis’ Penitential Practice

Behind the Confessional: A Franciscan’s Tale

In the intricate world of confessions, Brother Otmar, a Franciscan friar, shares a unique perspective on Pope Francis’ penitential practices.

According to Brother Otmar, there was a distinctive experience when the Pope chose his confessional for the sacrament of reconciliation.

The Ritual of Cleaning: A Peculiar Preparation

Brother Otmar recounts the unusual sight of an entire team meticulously cleaning and scrubbing the confessional before Pope Francis’s confession.

The friar humorously notes the contrast from his usual routine of personally dusting the confessional with a cloth. The thorough cleaning, he suggests, adds an extra layer of significance to the sacrament.

Pope Francis’ Public Penitence: Kneeling and Confessing

Adding to the unique encounter, Brother Otmar highlights the special nature of Pope Francis confessing while kneeling in public.

After his own confession, Pope Francis continued the tradition by using Brother Otmar’s confessional to hear confessions from other priests. The blend of sacred tradition and public demonstration created a memorable moment for the friar.

Penances and Humor: A Franciscan’s Response

Maintaining the sacred seal of confession and injecting a touch of humor, Brother Otmar playfully responds to the question of what penance Pope Francis would receive from him. With a laugh, he suggests a “penance of the tongue,” cheekily commenting on the Pope’s occasional quick remarks.

Life at the Lateran: Franciscan Friars and Confessionals

Addressing the question of where priests live when appointed as confessors at the Lateran, Brother Otmar provides insight into the living arrangements.

Above the church’s roof, he reveals, are the apartments of the eight Franciscan friars who take turns sitting in the eight confessionals during the day. It offers a glimpse into the daily life and responsibilities of these friars dedicated to the sacrament of reconciliation.

In this candid interview, Brother Otmar offers a window into the world of confessions, humor, and holiness, providing a nuanced understanding of Pope Francis’ penitential journey and the role of Franciscan friars in this sacred ritual.

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