Catholic World News

Forgive sinners, stop warmakers, Pope says in new interview

April 13, 2017

In a new interview, Pope Francis underlined the importance of offering forgiveness, and said that war is the most evident manifestation of sin in today’s world.

The interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica was published on Holy Thursday, as the Holy Father prepared to visit the Paliano prison, where he would celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper and wash the feet of prisoners. The Pontiff said that his visit to the prison was a simple response to “Jesus’ mandate for all of us, but especially the bishop, who is father to everyone.” He recalled the words: “I was a prisoner and you visited me.”

While some people think of all prisoners as tarred by guilt, the Pope said, Christians should be ready to forgive. He suggested that a lack of confidence in the possibility of rehabilitation is a sign of hypocrisy. He also reminded his interviewer of Christ’s words: “Whoever is not guilty, throw the first stone.”

The Paliano prison houses a number of former Mafia figures who have collaborated with prosecutors. “Everyone has the right to make a mistake,” the Pope said. He revealed that he had also been inspired by the example set by the late Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, who, while serving as Vatican Secretary of State, took time to visit young people in a detention center in Rome. “They called him ‘Don Agostino,’” the Pope said; “they didn’t really know who he was.”

Speaking more generally about sin and forgiveness, the Pope reflected that “sin is manifested with all its destructive force in war, in different forms of violence and mistreatment, and in the rejection of the most fragile.” He added that after the world wars of the 20th century, today “we are experiencing a terrible world war fought piecemeal.”

“The world must stop the lords of war,” the Pope said. “Responding to violence with violence leads, in the best of cases, to forced migration and inhuman suffering… In the worst of cases, in can bring the physical and spiritual death of many people, if not of all.”


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Apr. 13, 2017 2:33 PM ET USA

    "Everyone has the right to make a mistake." A right? Error now has rights? Certainly everyone is permitted to make a mistake, but a right is something endowed by the Creator. Did Adam and Eve have a _right_ to make a mortal mistake? Not if you believe the Holy Writ. I do agree with Pope Francis that dialog should be the first resort, not the last. If the statements of the Orthodox and Catholic bishops during the last half dozen years are accurate, then investigation should have preceded missiles