Pope Francis Tells Judges "Discernment is done "on one's knees," imploring the gift of the Holy Spirit" - "in prayer that the light of the Holy Spirit always illuminates...to arrive" at a "just sentence"

 Opening of the 95th Judicial Year of the Vatican City State Court, 02.03.2024
This morning, in the Blessing Hall, the Holy Father Francis presided over the inauguration of the 95th Judicial Year of the Vatican City State Court.
FULL TEXT of the Pope's speech which was read by Monsignor Filippo Ciampanelli:
Speech by the Holy Father
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
dear Magistrates!
I am pleased to meet you for the inauguration of the 95th judicial year of the Vatican City State Court; I extend my warmest greetings to all of you.
I thank the Italian civil and military authorities for their presence.
I greet the President of the Court, the Deputy President and the Promoter of Justice, together with the Magistrates and collaborators of their respective offices; as well as the Presidents of the Courts of Appeal and Cassation. I thank you for your service, delicate and demanding; and together with you I thank the Gendarmerie Corps for their qualified collaboration.
On this occasion I would like to reflect briefly with you on a virtue that I think about several times following the events that affect the administration of justice, also in the Vatican City State: I am referring to courage.
For Christians this virtue, which in difficulty, combined with fortitude, ensures perseverance in the search for good and makes one capable of facing trials, does not only represent a particular quality of soul characteristic of some heroic people. It is rather a trait that is given and strengthened in the encounter with Christ, as the fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit that anyone can receive if they invoke him. Courage contains a humble strength, which is based on faith and the closeness of God and is expressed in a particular way in the ability to act with patience and perseverance, rejecting the internal and external conditioning that hinders the accomplishment of good. This courage disorientates the corrupt and puts them, so to speak, in a corner, with their hearts closed and hardened.
Even in well-organized societies, well regulated and supported by institutions, personal courage is always necessary to face different situations. Without this healthy audacity, we risk giving in to resignation and ending up overlooking many small and large abuses. Those who are courageous do not aim for their own protagonism, but for solidarity with their brothers and sisters who bear the weight of their fears and weaknesses.
We see this courage with admiration in many men and women who experience very difficult trials: let us think of the victims of wars, or of those who are subjected to continuous violations of human rights, including the numerous persecuted Christians. In the face of these injustices, the Spirit gives us the strength not to give up, it arouses in us indignation and courage: indignation in the face of these unacceptable realities and the courage to try to change them.
Ladies and Gentlemen, with this courage we are also called to face the difficulties of daily life, in the family and in society, to commit ourselves to the future of our children, to safeguard our common home, to assume our professional responsibilities. And this applies in particular to the area in which you operate, that of the administration of justice. In fact, together with the virtues of prudence and justice, which must be informed by charity, and together with the necessary temperance, the task of judging requires the virtues of fortitude and courage, without which wisdom risks remaining sterile.
Courage is needed to go all the way in rigorously ascertaining the truth, remembering that doing justice is always an act of charity, an opportunity for fraternal correction that intends to help the other to recognize his mistake. This also applies when behaviors that are particularly serious and scandalous emerge and must be sanctioned, even more so when they occur within the Christian community.
You need to have courage while you are busy ensuring the fair conduct of trials and are subjected to criticism. The robustness of the institutions and the firmness in the administration of justice are demonstrated by the serenity of judgment, the independence and impartiality of those who are called upon to judge at the various stages of the process. The best answer is industrious silence and serious commitment to work, which allow our Courts to administer justice with authority and impartiality, guaranteeing due process, in compliance with the peculiarities of the Vatican system.
Finally, courage is needed to implore in prayer that the light of the Holy Spirit always illuminates the discernment necessary to arrive at the outcome of a just sentence. Also in this context I would like to remind you that discernment is done "on your knees", imploring the gift of the Holy Spirit, so as to be able to reach decisions that go in the direction of the good of people and of the entire ecclesial community. In reality, as stated in the CCCLI Law on the organization of the State, «administering justice is not only a temporal necessity. The cardinal virtue of justice, in fact, illuminates and summarizes the very purpose of the judicial power of each State, to cultivate which the personal, generous and responsible commitment of those invested with the jurisdictional function is essential". This commitment needs to be supported by prayer. You shouldn't be afraid of wasting time by dedicating plenty of it to it. And for this too it takes courage and fortitude.
Dear Magistrates of the Court and of the Promoter's Office, I hope that in your service to justice you can always maintain, together with prudence, Christian courage. I pray to the Lord to strengthen this virtue in you. I heartily bless you and your work, entrusting it to the Holy Virgin, Speculum iustitiae. And please don't forget to pray for me. Thank you.