Pope de­scribes self as ‘a sin­ner’

Lesotho Times - - International -

VAT­I­CAN CITY — Pope Fran­cis de­scribes him­self as “a sin­ner” in need of God’s mercy, in an up­com­ing book where he also urges the Catholic Church to fo­cus on its mis­sion as a grass­roots, hands-on or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The first book of his pa­pacy, The Name of God is Mercy, was pub­lished on Tues­day in 86 coun­tries, com­prises a se­ries of in­ter­views, some of them highly per­sonal, with the 79-year-old Ar­gen­tine-born pope.

In ex­tracts from the French-lan­guage edi­tion pro­vided to AFP by the French pub­lisher Laf­font, the pope calls him­self “a man who is in need of God’s mercy.”

Ex­pound­ing on the no­tion of for­give­ness, the pope -- a fre­quent vis­i­tor to pris­ons -- refers to his “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” with con­victs.

“I have al­ways been very much at­tached to them, pre­cisely be­cause of the aware­ness that I have of be­ing a sin­ner,” Fran­cis says, ac­cord­ing to AFP’S trans­la­tion of the ex­tracts.

“Ev­ery time I cross the door­way of a prison, I al­ways ask my­self, ‘Why are they are here, and not me?’ I should be here, I should de­serve to be here. Their fall could have been mine. I don’t feel su­pe­rior to those in front of me.”

The pope, in­ter­viewed by vet­eran Vat­i­can reporter An­drea Tornielli, talks of the power of “shame,” de- scrib­ing it as guid­ance from God for pro­vid­ing a moral path.

“Shame is a grace: When we feel God’s mercy, we re­ally are ashamed of our­selves. De­spite all our past of wretched­ness and sin, God re­mains faith­ful to us and raises us up.”

Turn­ing to the ju­bilee year he launched on De­cem­ber 8, whose theme is di­vine mercy, the pope says, “The church con­demns sin, be­cause it has to tell the truth: this is a sin. But at the same time, it em­braces the sin­ner who ac­knowl­edg- es what he is.”

“I hope that the ju­bilee will show the face of a Church which is redis­cov­er­ing the womb of mercy,” Fran­cis added.

“A Church that goes out into the world... a field hos­pi­tal whose char­ac­ter­is­tic is to spring up wher­ever there’s fight­ing. Not some elab­o­rate struc­ture, kit­ted out with ev­ery­thing... (but) a mo­bile struc­ture, for sav­ing (peo­ple), for fast in­ter­ven­tion.”

The first book of the Pope Fran­cis's pa­pacy was pub­lished on Tues­day in 86 coun­tries.

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