Pope: Show mercy, don't rush to condemn

2013-03-17 16:31
(Photo: AFP)

(Photo: AFP)

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Vatican City - Pope Francis, speaking to an overflow crowd of more than 150 000 in St Peter's Square, urged the world on Sunday to be more forgiving and merciful and not so quick to condemn other people's failures.

"A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just," he told the cheering crowd from the window of the papal apartments overlooking the square.

Four days after his election, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina spoke both as pope and as parish priest - earlier on Sunday he had said Mass for a few hundred Vatican workers in a tiny church just inside the city state's walls.

Since his election on Wednesday as the first non-European pope in nearly 1 300 years, Francis has signalled a sharp change of style from his more aloof predecessor, Benedict, and laid out a clear moral path for the 1.2 billion member Church, which is beset by scandals, intrigue and strife.

"Brothers and sisters, good morning," he said, using a familiar style that has already become his hallmark.

He wove his address from the window as well as his earlier homily around the Gospel story of the crowd that wanted to stone a woman who had committed adultery but was saved by Jesus.

Jesus told them "let he among you who is without sin, cast the first stone" and then told the woman "go and sin no more".

"I think even we are sometimes like these people, who on the one hand want to listen to Jesus, but on the other hand, sometimes we like to stone others and condemn others.

"The message of Jesus is this: Mercy," he said at the morning Mass.

Before he entered the tiny church of Santa Anna for the morning Mass, Francis stopped to greet well-wishers who had lined up outside a nearby Vatican gate.

He chatted and laughed with many of them before pointing to his black plastic wrist watch and saying: "It's almost 10:00 and I have to go inside to say Mass...they are waiting for me."

Inside, he wore the purple vestments of the liturgical season of Lent, which ends in two weeks on Easter Sunday.

Read more on:    pope francis  |  vatican  |  religion

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