Pope holds spe­cial Vat­i­can Mass for 1,000 pris­on­ers

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

VAT­I­CAN CITY: Pope Fran­cis yes­ter­day cel­e­brated Mass be­fore a thou­sand pris­on­ers spe­cially in­vited to the Vat­i­can, giv­ing them a mes­sage of hope while de­nounc­ing the “hypocrisy” of so­ci­ety. The event was also at­tended by 3,000 oth­ers in­clud­ing prison staff and vol­un­teers and with­out any vis­i­ble po­lice pres­ence.

The Ar­gen­tine pon­tiff reg­u­larly meets pris­on­ers-both in Italy and on his trips abroad-but this is the first time so many in­mates were re­ceived at the Vat­i­can. The pon­tiff, re­call­ing his vis­its to jail, said: “Ev­ery time I en­ter a prison, I ask the ques­tion ‘why them and not me?’ we all can make mis­takes.” The pris­on­ers came from jails in Italy and Spain but 12 coun­tries were rep­re­sented in­clud­ing Bri­tain, Mex­ico, South Africa. He ex­horted them never to lose hope. “Hope is a gift of God,” he said. “Cer­tainly, break­ing the law in­volves pay­ing the price, and los­ing one’s free­dom is the worst part of serv­ing time, be­cause it af­fects us so deeply. All the same, hope must not fal­ter.” He said that in­car­cer­a­tion was not the only means to set peo­ple back on the right path. “Some­times, a cer­tain hypocrisy leads to peo­ple con­sid­er­ing you only as wrong­do­ers, for whom prison is the sole an­swer,” he said.

“We don’t think about the pos­si­bil­ity that peo­ple can change their lives; we put lit­tle trust in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. But in this way we for­get that we are all sin­ners and of­ten, with­out be­ing aware of it, we too are pris­on­ers... locked up within our own prej­u­dices or en­slaved to the idols of a false sense of well-be­ing.”


VAT­I­CAN CITY: Pope Fran­cis (C) leads a mass at St Peter’s basil­ica in Vat­i­can. One thou­sand pris­on­ers — in­clud­ing some lif­ers — take part in a spe­cial event at the Vat­i­can this weekend, along with 3,000 fam­ily mem­bers, prison staff and vol­un­teers.

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