In this regard I cannot but recall with devout admiration those extraordinary apostles of the confessional such as St. John Nepomucene, St. John Vianney, St. Joseph Cafasso and St. Leopold of Castelnuovo, to mention only the best-known confessors whom the church has added to the list of her saints.
In case you needed a bit of backstory on any of those names, wiki-links added.
But I also wish to pay homage to the innumerable host of holy and almost always anonymous confessors to whom is owed the salvation of so many souls who have been helped by them in conversion, in the struggle against sin and temptation, in spiritual progress and, in a word, in achieving holiness. I do not hesitate to say that even the great canonized saints are generally the fruit of those confessionals, and not only the saints but also the spiritual patrimony of the church and the flowering of a civilization permeated with the Christian spirit! Praise then to this silent army of our brothers who have served well and serve each day the cause of reconciliation through the ministry of sacramental penance!
In case there is any doubt among living clergy, we lay people do compare notes on confessors. The advent of many clergy gathering in parishes for communal celebrations permits more comparing and contrasting. In many parishes I’ve served, certain priests get longer lines, despite encouragement from presiders against hogging particular confessors above others. Don’t doubt it: we know. And don’t be fooled: Catholics don’t gravitate to weak guys and avoid the tough ones. There is an undeniable quality of sanctity in many parish priests today. There is a gift to being a good celebrant of penance and reconciliation. Seek it.
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