Ex-priests, their wives and families get surprise visit from Pope

Ex-priests, their wives and families were surprised by a visit from Pope Francis last Friday.

The visit marked the end of the Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy.

In an interview last December, Francis said the Holy Year is a response to the world’s need for a “revolution of tenderness” from which “justice and all the rest derives.”

“We are used to bad news, cruel news, and to even bigger atrocities, which offend the name and life of God.”

Ending those tragedies requires a spirit of mercy, he said.

The seven former priests included a Spaniard and a Latin American as well as five Italians.

The Vatican said all seven had struggled with their eventual decision to leave the priesthood.

The Vatican statement also said “The Holy Father’s visit was highly appreciated by all those present who did not hear the Pope make a judgment on their choice, but felt his closeness and affection.”

Francis listened to each of the former priests’ stories, and was able to show them he was aware of each of their particular situations.

“His paternal word has reassured everyone on his friendship and the certainty of his personal interest,” the Vatican statement ended.

“In this way, again, Pope Francis wanted to give a sign of mercy to those who live a situation of spiritual and material distress …”.

The visit was one of the Pope’s last acts of mercy during the Holy Year. Each month during the past 12 months, Francis has undertaken a special act of mercy.

He has visited refugees and elderly people, for example, and hosted and apologised to thousands of  for any possible hurts he may have inflicted on them.



Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: ,