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Understanding mercy means awareness of sin, Pope tells American bishops

August 29, 2016

To appreciate God's mercy, one must recognize one's own sinfulness, Pope Francis told an audience of American bishps on August 27.

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“For all our sins, our limitations, our failings, for all the many times we have fallen, Jesus has looked upon us and drawn near to us," the Pope said. "He has given us his hand and showed us mercy.” 

God's mercy, the Pope said, is understood in the context of "a history of sin to be remembered. Which sin? Ours: mine and yours."

The Pontiff offered his thoughts in a lengthy video message to bishops from all the countries of the Western hemisphere, gathered in Bogota, Colombia, for a special conference on the Jubilee Year of Mercy. 

Conscious of God's mercy, the Pope continued, the faithful should offer mercy to others. The response of mercy toward others, he said, contrasts with an attitude of fear, which serves only "to separate, to divide, to divide, to attempt to distinguish with surgical precision one side from the other, to create false security and thus to build walls.”

“We live in a society that is bleeding, and the price of its wounds normally ends up being paid by the most vulnerable,” the Pope told the American bishops. "Our peoples already have enough suffering in their lives; they do not need us to add to it."


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