02/24/2019, 15.05
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Pope: loving one’s enemies is not an optional but a command

During the Angelus, Pope Francis stressed this "central and characterising point of Christian life", namely the “revolution of love whose protagonists are the martyrs of all time.” The pontiff also spoke about the recent meeting on the ‘Protection of minors in the Church’.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis said that loving one’s enemy is not an optional but a command, as he commented on the Gospel passage from today’s Mass (7th Sunday of Ordinary Time year, C, Luke 6:27-38), before reciting the Angelus with the pilgrims in St Peter's Square.

During his address, the pontiff also spoke about the meeting on the ‘Protection of minors in the Church’, where he delivered the final speech.

In explaining the sense of this "central and characterising point of Christian life", i.e. to love one’s enemies, he asked "How is it possible to overcome the human instinct and the worldly law of retaliation?”

“The answer is given by Jesus in the same Gospel passage: ‘Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful’ (Luke 6:36). Whoever listens to Jesus, who strives to follow him even if it comes with a cost, becomes a child of God and begins to really resemble the Father who is in heaven."

Such a “command, to respond to insult and wrong with love, has generated a new culture in the world: the culture of mercy, which gives rise to a true revolution (Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera, 20). It is the revolution of love whose protagonists are the martyrs of all time.

“Jesus assures us that our behaviour, marked by love towards those who do us evil, will not be in vain. [. . .] If our hearts open to mercy, if forgiveness is sealed with a fraternal embrace and the bonds of communion are tightened, we proclaim before the world that it is possible to overcome evil with good."

Following the Marian prayer, Francis turned to the "very important" meeting on the ‘Protection of minors in the Church’. "Since it is a widespread problem on every continent," he said, "I wanted that we, as Pastors of the Catholic communities throughout the world, address it together, in a co-responsible and collegial way.

“We have heard the voice of the victims, we have prayed and asked God and offended people for forgiveness, we have become aware of our responsibilities, of our duty to do justice in the truth, to radically refuse all forms of abuse of power, conscience and sexuality.

“We want all Church activities and places to be always completely safe for minors, that all possible measures be taken so that similar crimes are not repeated, that the Church return to be absolutely credible and reliable in its mission of service and education for the little ones in accordance with the teaching of Jesus.

“This way we will be able to work together, with all our hearts and effectively, with all people of good will and all the groups and positive forces of society, in all countries and internationally, in order to fight and end, in all its forms, this very serious scourge of violence against hundreds of millions of children, teenagers, girls and boys, all over the world."

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