The Catechism of
the Catholic Church says: "Those who approach the sacrament of Penance
obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offence committed against him,
and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have
wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer
labours for their conversion."
It is called the
sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present
Jesus' call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father5
from whom one has strayed by sin. It is called the sacrament of
Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner's personal and
ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.
It is called the
sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of
sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a
profound sense it is also a "confession" - acknowledgment and praise -
of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.
It is called
the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest's sacramental
grants the penitent "pardon and peace".
the principal daily activity of Padre Pio. He had the ability to look
within the souls of his penitents. It was not possible to lie to Padre
Pio during a confession. He saw inside people’s hearts. Often, when
the sinners were timid, Padre Pio listed their sins during the
invited all believers to confess at least once a week. He said: "Even
if a room is closed, it is necessary to dust it after a week."
In the sacrament
of confession Padre Pio was very demanding. He couldn't bear people
that went to him only out of curiosity.
A monk once told
the following story: "One day Padre Pio didn't give absolution to a
penitent and he told him: "If you go to confess to another priest to
have gain absolution you will go to hell together with him". He meant
that the sacrament of confession is profaned by people that don't want
to change their lives. They are guilty in front of God.
A man once went to St. Giovanni Rotondo to
confess to Padre Pio. It was between 1954 and 1955. When he
finished the accusation of his sins Padre Pio said: "Do you have
anything else to confess?" and he said, "No Father!" He repeated
the question: "Do you have anything else to confess?" "No Father!"
For a third time Padre Pio asked him: "Do you have anything else
to confess? At this third negative answer the hurricane exploded.
With the voice of the Holy Spirit Padre Pio howled: "Go away! Go
away! Because you are not reformed of your sins!"
The man was also petrified because of the shame
that he felt in front of so many people. Then he tried to say
something but Padre Pio said: "Keep silent, gossiper, you have
spoken enough; I now want to speak. Is it true that you go to
discos?” "Yes, Father." "Do you know that dancing is an
invitation to the sin?"
The man was surprised and he didn't
know what to say: he had the membership card of a disco in his
wallet. The man promised not to commit any other sins and after a
lot of effort he received absolution.
One day, a man told Padre Pio:
"Father, I tell lies when I am with some friends of mine. I do it
in order to make everybody happy". And Padre Pio said: "Oh, do you
want to go to hell by joking?!"
When a person speaks badly of a friend, he
destroys the reputation and the honour of a brother who has the
right to enjoy respect.
One day Padre Pio said to a penitent: "When you
gossip about a person it means that you have removed the person
from your heart. But be aware, when you remove a man from your
heart, Jesus also goes away from your heart with that man."
Padre Pio was invited to bless a house. But when he reached the
entrance of the kitchen he said: "There are snakes here. I do not
want to go in". And then he said to a priest that often went to
that house to eat: “Don't go to that house because they say
unpleasant things about their brothers and sisters.”
A man was born in the region of Italy called
Marche. He and a friend left their town in a truck, with some
furniture they had to transport nearby to St. Giovanni Rotondo.
While they were taking the last slope, before reaching their
destination, the truck broke-down and it stopped. They tried to
start the engine again but without success.
At that point the driver lost his calm and full
of anger he cursed. The day after the two men went to St. Giovanni
Rotondo where one of the men had a sister. With the help of his
sister they succeeded in going to Padre Pio to confession.
The first man entered the confessional but
Padre Pio sent him away. Then it was the turn of the driver. He
started saying something to Padre Pio: "I have been angry". But
Padre Pio shouted: "Wretch! You have cursed our Mother! What did
she do to you, Our Lady?" Then he sent him away as well.
The devil is near to people who curse.
In a hotel in St. Giovanni Rotondo it was not
possible to rest neither during the day nor at night because there
was a girl who was possessed and shouted for hours. Everybody was
frightened of her. The child’s mother brought her every day to the
church. She hoped that Padre Pio would free the child from the
evil spirit. The child also shouted a lot in the church. One day,
when Padre Pio had finished hearing the women’s confessions, he
met the child that howled fearfully in front of him. The child was
being held back with difficulty by two or three men. The Saint was
annoyed by the whole uproar and kicked the child with his foot and
then he struck the child’s head and he said: "Stop! Enough!"
The child fell to the ground as if she was
sleeping. Padre Pio told a doctor who was standing there, to bring
the child to St. Michael, in the sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo.
When the group reached the destination, they entered the cave
where Saint Michael had appeared. The child revived but nobody
succeeded in bringing her near to the altar of the Angel. In the
midst of the confusion, a monk took the hand of the child and
touched the altar. She fell down as if she had been struck by
lightening. A few minutes later she woke up and as if nothing had
happened she asked her mother: "Could you buy me an ice-cream?"
At that point the group of people
returned to St. Giovanni Rotondo in order to inform and to thank
Padre Pio. But Padre Pio told her mother: "Say to your husband not
to curse anymore, otherwise the demon will return."
In about 1950, a young doctor went
to confess to Padre Pio. He confessed his sins and then he
remained silent. Padre Pio asked the young doctor if he had other
things to add but the doctor answered he had nothing else. Then
Padre Pio told the doctor: "Keep in mind that on holy days you
cannot miss Mass, because this is a mortal sin". Suddenly the
doctor remembered he had "jumped" Mass with a Sunday appointment,
a few months before.
Padre Pio prohibited all magic,
spiritism and practices of bad magic. A lady said: "I confessed to
Padre Pio in November, 1948. Among the things I told him was
that we were worried about our aunt who read Tarot cards in our
family”. Padre Pio in a peremptory tone said: "Throw that stuff
away, as soon as you can."
In the united and holy family, Padre Pio saw
the place where the faith can grow and develop. He said: “Divorce
is the passport to hell".
A young lady finished the confession of her
sins. She received her penance from Padre Pio who said: "You have
to immerse yourself in the silence of prayer and you will save
was amazed since her marriage didn't have any problems. After a
long time, her marriage began to experience trouble. However she
was ready to face the problems and overcame them and so avoided
the destruction of the family because she had been following the
suggestion that Padre Pio gave her.
One day, Padre Pellegrino asked Padre Pio:
"Father, this morning you denied absolution to a lady who
confessed to an abortion. Why have you been so rigorous with this
poor unfortunate? ".
Padre Pio said: "The day, in which people,
frightened by the economic boom, from physical damages or from
economic sacrifices, will lose the horror of the abortion, it will
be the most terrible day for humanity. Abortion is not only
homicide but also suicide. And with these people we see on the
point of committing two crimes…do we want to show our faith? Do we
want to save them? "
"Why suicide?” Padre Pellegrino asked.
"You would understand this suicide
of the human race, if with the eye of reason, you could see the
Heart populated by old men and depopulated by children: burnt as a