10/06/2021, 13.00
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Pope: truth will set you free and you can never use force in the name of Jesus

"Pain" and "shame" over report on sexual abuse committed in France since 1950 by priests. "I wish to express my sadness to the victims ". A "hard but salutary trial" that must be faced.



Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Christian is free, because of that freedom given by Jesus. "A preaching that would preclude freedom in Christ would never be evangelical," he said.  "One can never force in the name of Jesus, one cannot make anyone a slave in the name of Jesus who makes us free," the Pope said continuing the cycle of catechesis on the Letter to the Galatians, on the theme, "Christ has set us free."

Addressing the French pilgrims present, Francis also expressed "pain" and "shame" over the report on sexual abuse committed by priests since 1950. He said. "Yesterday, the Conference of French Bishops and religious superiors received the report of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church, charged with assessing the extent of the phenomenon of abuse committed against minors since 1950." "It unfortunately results in considerable numbers."

"I wish to express to the victims my sadness and grief at the trauma they have suffered and my shame, our shame, at the Church's too long failure to place them at the center of its concerns, assuring them of my prayers. And I pray and we all pray together, "To you Lord the glory, to us the shame": this is the moment of shame. I encourage the bishops and you, dear brothers who have come here to share this moment, I encourage the bishops and religious superiors to continue to make every effort so that similar dramas will not be repeated. I express to the priests of France closeness and paternal support in the face of this trial, which is hard but will do us good, and I invite French Catholics to assume their responsibilities to ensure that the Church is a safe home for all." 

Still to the French, he reminded them that "the Synod on Synodality opens on October 9. I invite you to pray," he said, "that the reflections and exchanges of this Assembly may help us rediscover the joy of being the People of God that walks together listening to everyone.

Earlier in his reflection, Francis had said that "in the Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul wrote immortal words about Christian freedom." Freedom which, he continued, "is a treasure that is truly appreciated only when we lose it. For many of us, accustomed to living in freedom, it often appears more like an acquired right than a gift and an inheritance to be cherished. How many misunderstandings around the theme of freedom, and how many different visions have clashed over the centuries!"

Paul, on the other hand, "proposes the teaching of Jesus, which we also find in the Gospel of John: 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free'" (8:31-32). The call, therefore, is first and foremost to abide in Jesus, the source of the truth that sets us free."

"Christian freedom, therefore, is founded on two fundamental pillars: first, the grace of the Lord Jesus; second, the truth that Christ reveals to us and which is He himself. First of all, it is a gift from the Lord. The freedom that the Galatians had received – and we like them – is the fruit of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Apostle concentrates his entire proclamation on Christ, who had liberated him from the bonds of his past life: only from Him do the fruits of the new life according to the Spirit flow. In fact, the truest freedom, that from slavery to sin, flows from the Cross of Christ. God placed right there, where Jesus allowed himself to be nailed, the source of the radical liberation of the human person. This never ceases to amaze us: that the place where we are stripped of every freedom, that is, death, might become the source of freedom. But this is the mystery of God’s love! Jesus himself had proclaimed it when he said: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father” (Jn 10:17-18). Jesus achieves complete freedom by giving himself up to death; He knows that only in this way could he obtain life for everyone."

"The second pillar of freedom is the truth. In this case as well, it is necessary to remember that the truth of faith is not an abstract theory, but the reality of the living Christ, who touches the daily and overall meaning of personal life. Freedom makes free to the extent to which it transforms a person’s life and directs it toward the good. So as to be truly free, we not only need to know ourselves on the psychological level, but above all to activate the truth in ourselves on a more profound level — and there, in our heart, open ourselves to the grace of Christ. Truth must disturb us, it must constantly question us, so that we might always plunge deeper into what we really are. In this way we will discover that the journey of truth and freedom is an arduous one that lasts a lifetime. It is a journey on which the Love that comes from the Cross guides and sustains us: the Love that reveals truth to us and grants us freedom. This is the way to happiness."

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