Mercy makes the world less cold more fair

An estimated 150,000 – 200,000 people crammed into St Peter’s Square, Sunday, to listen to Pope Francis’ first Angelus message.

The Angelus message traditionally focuses on international issues, however Francis used the occasion to focus attention on the need for mercy.

“A bit of mercy can make the world less cold and fairer,” he told the energetic crowd.

“Don’t forget this: the Lord never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking forgiveness,” he said, to applause from the crowd.

He gave a nice shout-out to German Cardinal Walter Kasper, “a very capable theologian,” and said he’d been reading a book Kasper wrote about mercy and how “it changes everything” for the person who experiences it.

The pope joked, “Don’t think I do publicity for books of my cardinals!”

He ended his message by hoping everyone had a good lunch!

Earlier in the day around 1,000 people thronged a narrow passageway outside the Church of Saint Anna, his local parish church just inside the Vatican gates, as he arrived for mass.

In dramatic contrast with the reserved style of his predecessors, he walked along a hastily constructed barrier reaching deep into the crowd, shaking hands, laughing and joking.

It is the first time he has had a chance to meet members of the public up close since being elected on Wednesday.

There were chants of “Francesco, Francesco” as he turned and walked through the iron gates out onto the main street, where most of the crowd were waiting, leaving his anxious security men rushing to keep up.

When two clerics were brought up and introduced to him, attempting to drop to their knees, he hurriedly ushered them back onto their feet.

“He touched me, he touched me!” said one French woman holding her hand aloft.

“We just came for the weekend we never expected to meet the Pope.”

In his homily, during which he appeared to ad-lib, he told the congregation that, “We too, I think, are this people who, on one hand want to listen to Jesus, but on the other, sometimes we like to beat up on others, condemn the others.”

“The message of Jesus is mercy. For me, and I say this with humility, mercy is the strongest message of the Lord,” he said.




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