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In talk to Evangelical congregation, Pope apologizes for Catholic hostility

July 28, 2014

Pope Francis apologized for Catholic cooperation in campaigns against Pentecostalists and Evangelicals, during a visit to a Protestant congregation in Caserta on July 28.

The Pope was traveling to the Italian city for the 2nd time in 3 days. On the previous Saturday he had visited the Catholic community in Caserta. [See today’s separate CWN headline stories.]

Pope Francis spoke to the Church of Reconciliation at the invitation of the pastor, Rev. Giovanni Traettino, with whom he has been friendly for years. The pastor greeted him as “my beloved brother,” and said that many Evangelicals pray daily for the Roman Pontiff.

The Pope, in his short address, said that some Catholics acted against Evangelicals “as if they were crazies,” and asked for forgiveness “for those Catholic brothers and sisters who did not understand and were tempted by the devil,” according to Italian news reports. His talk was warmly received by the 200 members of the congregation.

The papal visit to the Evangelical congregation had become a sensitive matter in Caserta, where Catholics had insisted that the Holy Father should first visit with the Catholics of the city. The Vatican stressed that the 2nd papal trip to Caserta was a “strictly private” visit, and no secular reporters were allowed into the church. Reports on the Pope’s talk came from Vatican sources and from others in attendance.


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  • Posted by: Deo Vindice - Jul. 30, 2014 5:41 PM ET USA

    Why do we need to apologize!!??? Who has apologized to us as Catholics...from the persecutions by the Jews in the early days of Christianity right up to today in regards to legislative violations by our own Government and also in regards to the Muslims killing Christians in the Mideast.

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Jul. 29, 2014 7:37 AM ET USA

    There is no such thing as a "strictly private visit" by Pope Francis. Wherever and whenever he appears and gives an address, his words will be reported in the media, and usually in a distorted manner to discredit him in some way. By excluding the secular media from this meeting, the Vatican's PR people have managed to screw up another opportunity to make what the Pope actually said known to the world at large.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jul. 29, 2014 3:00 AM ET USA

    The pope is very much a post-VII one - apologizing for and to everyone though we know, "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" and shouldn't that have been his main concern?

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jul. 28, 2014 10:50 PM ET USA

    "But have not Pentecostals been very hostile and antagonistic towards Catholics?" If such has occurred it is really none of our business. "Our business" is our own sin... Their "sin," if they have it, is their own business.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Jul. 28, 2014 7:58 PM ET USA

    I think P. Francis is hitting just the right note. There is no doubt that Pentecostals and Evangelicals are in error. That is no reason to treat them ill. We should rejoice in the faith that they have, even though we hope that it may become perfect. If they treat us badly for our faith, let us rejoice as well and forgive them.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jul. 28, 2014 6:33 PM ET USA

    Lucius question is on the mark: What IS the goal here? And how can this talk do anything beyond confuse those on both the Catholic side and the Protestant side of this question? I know it confuses me precisely for the reasons Lucius cites here.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Jul. 28, 2014 4:13 PM ET USA

    But have not Pentecostals been very hostile and antagonistic towards Catholics? What about that? Many of them are former Catholics. Supposedly the context was the persecution of Catholics in Italy by the Fascists but how can the Pope apologize for that? I find these apologies troubling and in this case one-sided. What is the goal here?