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Saturday, June 21, 2014
Pope Francis to Prisoners - We must never tire of going to Confession
Pope visits Calabrian prison
(Vatican Radio) The journey towards reintegration into society, said Pope Francis, demands an encounter with God who loves us, knows us, and forgives our sins.
This was one of the central themes of the Pope’s discourse to the inmates and staff of the district prison of Castrovillari, Calabria. Saturday’s visit to the prison was his first major encounter during his 12 hour pastoral visit to the southern Italian region.
In his address, the Holy Father said that while those in prison must always be treated according to their fundamental human dignity, efforts must also be made by the institution to facilitate effective reintegration into society. When this aim is not achieved, he said, the prison sentence becomes merely an instrument of punishment and retaliation that affects both the individual and society.
God does not treat us in this way, the Pope said, adding that when we go to confession the Lord forgives us and invites us to go with him. Reminding us that we are fragile, he said we must never tire of going to confession.
Pope Francis went on to say that true and complete reintegration involves an encounter with God and allowing ourselves to be looked upon by him who loves us , which he says is difficult. “It is more difficult to allow ourselves to be looked upon by God than to look upon God. It is more difficult to allow ourselves to be encountered by God than to encounter God.”
“The Lord is a master of reintegration,” he said. “He takes us by the hand and brings us back to the community. The Lord always forgives, always accompanies, always understands.”
The Pope then prayed for the families of the inmates, that the Lord may embrace them “in serenity and in peace.”