Looking directly at thousands of homeless and marginalised persons, Pope Francis asked for their forgiveness for failures to recognise their dignity and alleviate their suffering.
“I ask your forgiveness if I have ever offended you with my words or for not having said something that I should have,” the pope said on 11th November during an audience with pilgrims attending special Year of Mercy events for people who are homeless or otherwise socially excluded.
Pope Francis, speaking in the name of all Christians, asked their forgiveness for times when they were not treated with the dignity the Gospel says they have.
“I ask your forgiveness for all the times that we Christians stand before a poor person or a situation of poverty and look the other way,” the pope said.
The forgiveness of those who have felt unloved and unwanted by men and women of the Church “purifies us and helps us to believe once again that at the heart of the Gospel is the great message of poverty and that we – Catholics, Christians, all of us – must form a Church that is poor for the poor.”
Picture: Pope Francis blesses a pilgrim during a special audience with homeless people in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Alessandro Di Meo, EPA).