10/23/2013, 00.00
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Pope: God is a prisoner too, it’s easy to punish the weak while the ‘big fish’ go free

Meeting the Italian prison chaplains, Francis speaks of his phone calls with some detainees in Buenos Aires. "No cell is so isolated it can exclude the Lord , no”. Tell the prisoners " I pray for them: they are in my heart. Pray to the Lord and the Virgin Mary that they can successfully overcome this difficult period of their lives".

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - The Lord too "is a prisoner, no? Of our selfishness, our systems, of many injustices that are easy to punish the weak, no? But the big fish go free" .

These were Pope Francis words as he confirmed a phone call with some people "I know in Buenos Aires, who are in prison , on Sunday", as he received, the 200 participants at the National Conference of Chaplains Italian prisons this morning before the general audience.  The course is taking place in Sacrofano, near Rome , on the theme " Justice: punishment or reconciliation. Free to liberate". The Pope urged the chaplains to tell the prisoners that God is close to them. "But tell them with gestures, with words, with the heart, that the Lord is not standing outside of their cell, outside the prison: He is with them inside, He is there." " No cell is so isolated it can exclude the Lord , no : He's there , crying with them, working with them, hoping with them."

"Please tell them that I pray for them : I have them at heart. I pray to the Lord and the Virgin Mary hat they can successfully overcome this difficult period of their lives. If they are discouraged, not to quit ." "His paternal and maternal love reaches everywhere," continued the Pope, who prayed "that they each open their hearts to the love of the Lord ."

And speaking of his phone calls with detainees he added: "Then , when I finish , I think, ' Why is he there and not me, and am I so much more deserving than him to stay there ? ' . And that is good for me? Why did he fall and not I? Because the weaknesses that we have, are the same and for me it is a mystery that makes me pray and makes me closer to them. It's good to say this too".

Pope Francis also prayed for the chaplains, for their ministry, "which is not easy," but it is "very challenging and very important" because it "expresses one of the works of mercy " , and "shows that the presence of the Lord in prison " :

"You are a sign of Christ's nearness to these brothers who are in need of hope. Recently, you spoke of a justice of reconciliation, no? Even a justice of hope, open doors, horizons ... This is not a utopia: it is possible. It's not easy, because of our weakness everywhere, even the devil is everywhere , temptations are everywhere ... but always look for the one , right? " .



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