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

Christians called to restore dignity to sick, imprisoned, pope says

Visiting the sick and the imprisoned are works of mercy that not only benefit the suffering and the abandoned, but benefit the visitors who are enriched by being with those who suffer like Christ, Pope Francis said.

While the works of mercy are ancient, they still are relevant today for those who are deprived of freedom and “suffer one of the greatest hardships of human beings,” the pope said at his weekly general audience on 9th November.

When the living conditions “often devoid of humanity” in which many prisoners are housed are added to the equation, “then it is indeed the case that a Christian should feel the need to do everything to restore their dignity,” he said.

Continuing his series of talks on the works of mercy, the pope began with visiting the sick and highlighted Jesus’ ministry as an example of the Christian duty to be close to them, especially since “they often feel alone.”

Simple gestures such as smiling, caressing or shaking their hand, he added, can go a long way for those who feel abandoned.

Picture: Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 9th November. (CNS photo/Stefano Rellandini, Reuters).