Valid Penances


Hello, all. I hope everything is going well.

I hate to have to question a priest, but I recently went to confession and received a penance that seemed a little off-kilter. He told me simply to offer the next Mass I attended for Pope Francis’s intentions. When I asked him how to carry that out exactly, he said it would suffice for me to declare such an intention during the prayers of the faithful.

I don’t know. What do you guys think about this? On the one hand, he is an ordained minister. On the other hand, something doesn’t sit right. But what do I know?


No, that’s a valid penance!

If he had said, “at your next Mass, pray for Pope Francis”, would you have given it a second thought? That’s all he’s really asking of you.


Asking you to offer a prayer for the Pope’s prayer intentions? What seems odd about that?

See the Pope’s 2015 prayer intentions at:


For future reference, if you ever go to confession, and you feel uncomfortable with the penance Father just gave you, you can always ask Father to change the penance.


I think a penance like that is a lot more meaningful and motivational than the classic “three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.”


It’s valid. Like the other posters said, you can ask Father to change it if you are uncomfortable. If you want to do more penance yourself, you can within reason of course.
In general some priests are getting a little more creative in an attempt to offer a meaningful


Good penance. :slight_smile:

Simply pray before mass; “Lord, I offer this mass for the prayers and intentions of Pope Francis.”

Pope Francis would surely thank you. :thumbsup:

God bless

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