Visiting young women rescued from forced prostitution and meeting with a mother inconsolable over the loss of one of her newborn triplets are images from the Year of Mercy that Pope Francis said remain impressed on his heart.
Reviewing the Holy Year in a 40-minute interview aired on 20th November on TV2000, a television station owned by the Italian bishops’ conference, Pope Francis also spoke about handling stress, his upcoming 80th birthday and a sense of humour, among other topics.
Asked about the Mercy Friday visits he made once a month during the Holy Year, the pope said the visit with women rescued from human trafficking and his visit to the neonatal ward of a Rome hospital were the visits that stand out.
Visiting Rome’s San Giovanni Hospital in September, he said, “there was a woman who cried and cried and cried standing by her two infants – tiny, but beautiful. The third had died.”
“She cried for that dead child while she caressed the other two,” the pope said. “It’s the gift of life.”
“And I thought of the practice of getting rid of babies before they are born – this horrible crime. They get rid of them because ‘it’s better that way,’ because it is easier, ‘it is a big responsibility.’ That is a serious sin,” the pope said. “This woman had three children and wept for the one who died; she was unable to console herself with the two remaining.”
Picture: Pope Francis holds a baby as he visits the neonatal unit at San Giovanni Hospital in Rome on 16th September. The visit was part of the pope’s series of Friday works of mercy during the Holy Year. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano, handout).