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We all have to return to confession, Pope tells prisoners

Catholic World News - June 23, 2014

On June 21, Pope Francis made an apostolic journey to Cosenza, a province in the southern Italian region of Calabria, and told prisoners that the Lord forgives us in confession and then wishes to accompany us through life.

The visit to Cosenza was his fourth apostolic journey within Italy, following trips to Lampedusa (July 8), Cagliari (September 22), and Assisi (October 4).

After a 90-minute helicopter ride from Rome, the Pope arrived in Castrovillari, a town of 23,000, and traveled to the town’s prison. Citing an address by Pope Benedict XVI to prisoners, Pope Francis said that prison policy must not only be attentive to human rights but also aim to reintegrate prisoners into society.

In confession, the Pope continued, God does not condemn us and does not simply forgive us; instead, he both forgives and accompanies us. “Then we are fragile, and we have to go back to confession, everybody.”

“The Lord is a master of reintegration,” Pope Francis added as he said that an encounter with God is necessary for full social reintegration. “It is more difficult to allow ourselves to be encountered by God than to encounter God … He takes us by the hand and brings us back to the community. The Lord always forgives, always accompanies, always understands.”

After blessing the prisoners and entrusting them to the protection of the Virgin Mary, the Pope concluded, “And please, I ask you to pray for me, because I too have my mistakes, and I have to do penance. Thank you.”

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