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Pope cites St. Joan of Arc as model for political leaders

Catholic World News - January 26, 2011

At his weekly public audience on January 26, Pope Benedict spoke about “one of those strong women who brought the light of the Gospel in history at the end of the Middle Ages”—St. Joan of Arc.

Speaking to about 3,000 people in the Paul VI auditorium, the Pope recounted the story of St. Joan’s short life: her mystical visions, her military career, her trial and martyrdom. The entirety of her life, he said, forms “a beautiful example of holiness for lay people involved in politics.”

The trial of St. Joan for heresy was “a shocking page in the history of the saints and also an illuminating page on the mystery of Church—which, in the words of Vatican II is at once holy and always in need of purification,” the Pope said. Her judges, he observed, were "theologians who lacked the charity and humility to see the action of God in this young woman." Her condemnation was unjust, and was formally overturned 25 years after her death.

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