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Papal audience: reflections on sin, justice, forgiveness

March 22, 2010

At his Angelus audience on March 21, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the day's Gospel reading: the story of the woman caught in adultery. That incident, the Pope told the crowd in St. Peter's Square, shows that Jesus "wants to condemn the sin, but to save the sinner an unmask hypocrisy."

When Jesus wrote in the dust with his finger, the Pope observed, he reminded the crowd (and reminds the reader of the Gospel) of how God wrote the Law on the stone tablets. "Thus Jesus is the Lawmaker; He is justice personified," the Pope said. His sentence, asking that the one without sin should throw the first stone is "full of the disarming power of truth, which breaks down the wall of hypocrisy and opens people's minds to a greater justice, that of love."

When he addresses the woman, Pope Benedict remarked, Jesus does not ignore her sin for absolves it. Thus the Lord points the way to reconciliation with God. The Pontiff encouraged the faithful to use the sacrament of reconciliation frequently, especially during Lent, and "be healed by the love of the merciful God, Who even forces himself to forget sin, so that He can grant us his forgiveness."


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