Pope Francis’ Message of Mercy over Judgement

Francis marks third anniversary as pope with message of mercy

Pope Francis

Pope Francis marked his third day as pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church by distributing 40,000 copies of the Gospel of Luke in St. Peter’s Square.

During his weekly blessing on Sunday, Pope Francis reinforced his message of mercy by telling the faithful about the Biblical story of the adulterous woman whom Jesus refused to condemn.

“This woman represents all of us, adulterers before God, traitors of his trust. And her experience represents the will of God for all of us: Not our condemnation, but our salvation through Jesus,” the pope said.

Pope Francis began his papacy in 2013 by stressing a mercy-over-morals message.

A report by Reuters, however, said three years after the election of Pope Francis, Catholic conservatives worry that “behind the gentle facade lies a dangerous reformer who is diluting Catholic teaching on moral issues like homosexuality and divorce.”

The report said conservatives are also worried about the pope’s drive to devolve decision-making power on several issues from the Vatican to regional, national or diocesan levels, in has been called “a healthy decentralization.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, thanked Pope Francis for his role in renewing the country’s diplomatic ties with Cuba.

“The Holy Father was instrumental in encouraging talks between our two countries, and the United States will continue to seek his support as we proceed with our renewed bilateral relationship with Cuba,” Kerry said in a statement quoted by Vatican Radio.

Sources

Reuters
AP/NBC News
Fox News Latino
Vatican Radio
Image: Fox News Latino

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In keeping with his papal theme of MERCY over LAW, Pope Francis seems bent on preaching the Gospel of God’s Love, as being primary over God’s Judgement. However, some conservative Roman Catholics are worried.

“A report by Reuters, however, said three years after the election of Pope Francis, Catholic conservatives worry that “behind the gentle facade lies a dangerous reformer who is diluting Catholic teaching on moral issues like homosexuality and divorce.”

It reminds one of the fear of the Religious Leaders of Jesus’ own day, that he was concentrating on replacing the Rule of The Law by fulfilling its demands on his own and then offering mercy and redemption as God’s gift to the world.  Here is another sign of Pope Francis’ understanding of Christ’s message:

‘During his weekly blessing on Sunday, Pope Francis reinforced his message of mercy by telling the faithful about the Biblical story of the adulterous woman whom Jesus refused to condemn. “This woman represents all of us, adulterers before God, traitors of his trust. And her experience represents the will of God for all of us: Not our condemnation, but our salvation through Jesus,” the pope said.’

We all know that, in the Gospel of John, chapter 8, verses 3 & 4, Jesus takes on the Scribes and Pharisees when, in accordance with The Law, they urge the stoning of the adulterous woman; “Which of you has not sinned? You throw the first stone!” This would have caused great consternation among the ‘Keepers of The Law’, who would have seen Jesus as a rabble-rouser, intent on dispensing with the requirements of the Law, in favour of offering forgiveness and redemption – which should have proved to the men present that any sins that the woman had committed were partly the responsibility of the men in the community. The only answer to the sin of the world lay in God’s great Mercy and Forgiveness.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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