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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Admonish sin without putting on airs or being hypocrite, pope says

Offering counsel and admonishing sinners are works of mercy, but they are not a license to pretend to be better than others, Pope Francis said.

To counsel others is a chance to see how well you, too, measure up to essential standards, he said to people gathered in St Peter’s Square on 16th November.

In his final general audience during the Year of Mercy, which was to close on 20th November, Pope Francis reflected on two verses in the Gospel of St Luke (6:41-42) in which Jesus warns against the hypocrisy of noticing “the splinter in your brother’s eye,” but not perceiving “the wooden beam in your own.”

“Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye,” Jesus says.

Those verses and Jesus’ vision of leadership as service, the pope said, help guide Christians in how to carry out the works of mercy traditionally described as instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, admonishing sinners and bearing wrongs patiently.

“We are all very good at recognising something that may be an annoyance” and thinking, “How much longer must I listen to this person’s complaints, gossip, requests or bragging,” he said.

Picture: Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his general audience in St Peter’s Square on 16th November. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters).