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Argentine priest explains story of Pope's 'stolen' rosary

Catholic World News - March 21, 2014

An Argentine priest has explained why Pope Francis, while serving as an auxiliary bishop in Buenos Aries, took a rosary from the coffin of a beloved priest.

During an address to the priests of Rome earlier this month, the Pope had confessed that he had pried the cross off the rosary in the hands of Father José Aristi, a priest who had been a renowned confessor with a reputation for holiness. As he took the cross he asked the deceased priest, “Give me half of your mercy,” the Pope recalled. He added that he has kept that cross to this day, even having special pockets sewn into his shirts so that he can have it at his breast.

Father Andres Taborda, an Argentine priest now living in Rome, told Vatican Insider that he was the only witness to the future Pope’s “theft.” He explained that Father Aristi had the habit of asking penitents to hold the cross on his rosary as he heard their confessions, and to kiss it after he gave absolution. “Basically, that rosary, along with the cross, witnessed so much mercy,” Father Taborda said.

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