Pope terms Mexico, a journey of transfiguration, calls for an end to death penalty
Before the Angelus prayer, Francis recalls his recent visit to Latin America: "The center of gravity was the Virgin of Guadalupe”. Special thanks to the Trinity for the meeting with Russian Patriarch Kirill: "A prophetic light of the Resurrection, of which today’s world has more need than ever. The Holy Mother of God will continue to guide the path of unity. " After the Angelus, a call for a moratorium on executions during the Holy Year. Those present in the square gifted the "Misericordina", a rosary and a picture of Jesus.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic trip to Mexico " was for all of us an experience of transfiguration. How so? The Lord has shown us the light of his glory through the Body of the Church, of his holy people that lives in this land — a body so often wounded, a people so often oppressed, despised, violated in its dignity. The various encounters we lived in Mexico were truly full of light: the light of a faith that transfigures faces and illumines our path”: these were the Pope’s words before the Angelus prayer, in front of tens of thousands of people gathered in St Peter's Square.
Francis cited the Gospel of the Transfiguration recalling the events in Mexico: " The spiritual “center of gravity” of my pilgrimage was the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. To remain in silence before the image of the Mother was my principal aim [in making the trip]. And I thank God that he has given me this opportunity. I have contemplated and I have allowed myself to be gazed upon by She who carries imprinted in her eyes the gaze of all of her children, gathering up the sorrows caused by violence, kidnapping, assassinations, the violence against so many poor people, against so many women".
The Pope recalled that Our Lady's apparition to the Indian Saint Juan Diego is iconic: " This is precisely the inheritance that the Lord has entrusted to Mexico: to care for the richness of diversity, and at the same time, to manifest the harmony of a common faith: a sincere and robust faith, accompanied by a great force of vitality and humanity.Like my predecessors, I also went to confirm the Mexican people in their faith, but at the same time to be confirmed. I have gathered my hands full of this gift so that it goes out as a benefit to the universal Church".
A "shining example" of what he says, " was given by families: the Mexican families have received me with joy as a messenger of Christ, pastor of the whole Church. But at the same time, they have given me strong and clear testimonies, testimonies of a living faith, of faith that transfigures life, and this to edify all of the Christian families of the world. And the same can be said about the youth, the consecrated, the priests, the workers, the imprisoned".
In special praise, he concluded before the Angelus, "we raise up praise, particular praise, to the Blessed Trinity for having wanted on this occasion to bring about in Cuba the encounter between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, our dear brother Kirill: an encounter much desired already by my predecessors. This event too is a prophetic light of resurrection, which the world today needs more than ever. The Holy Mother of God continues to guide us in the path of friendship and unity. And we pray to the Virgin of Kazan. Patriarch Kirill has given me an icon of the Virgin of Kazan. Let us pray together a Hail Mary".
Immediately after the Angelus, Francis reminds the international conference entitled 'For a world without the death penalty', promoted by the Sant'Egidio Community, which will take place tomorrow in Rome: " I desire that this conference might give new strength to efforts to abolish the death penalty. An increasing strong opposition to the death penalty, even as an instrument of legitimate social defense, has developed in public opinion, and this is a sign of hope. In fact, modern societies have the ability to effectively control crime without definitively removing from the criminal the possibility of redeeming himself. The issue lies in the context of a perspective on penal justice that is ever more conformed to the dignity of man and God’s design for man and for society. And also penal justice open to the hope of being reintegrated in society. The command “thou shalt not kill” has absolute value and refers to the guilty as well as the innocent.
He continued: “The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is a good occasion to promote in the world a growing maturity in forms of respect for life and the dignity of each person. Because even a criminal has the inviolable right to life, a gift of God”.
Pope Francis then appealed to rulers: “I make a call to the consciences of those who govern, so that they come to an international consensus aimed at abolishing the death penalty. And to those among them who are Catholic, that they carry out a gesture of courage, giving an example: that the death penalty not be applied in this Holy Year of Mercy. All Christians and men and women of good will are called today to work for the abolition of the death penalty, but also for improving the conditions of prisons, in respect of human dignity and of those people deprived of freedom”.
Immediately after the greetings to groups, the Pope made a gift to the faithful: “Lent is a good time to travel a path of conversion that has mercy at its center. Because of this, I’ve decided to give to those who are here in the Plaza a “spiritual medicine” called “Misericordina.” We did this once before, but this one is better, it is “Misericordina-Plus”: a little box that has a rosary ring and a little image of the Merciful Jesus. Volunteers, including the poor, the homeless, refugees and also religious, will now distribute them. Receive this gift as a spiritual aid to spread forgiveness and fraternity".