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General Audience of Pope Francis on Feb. 19



Vatican City, 19 February 2014: Pope Francis held his weekly general audience on Wednesday, where he delivered a catechesis on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The public meeting is an opportunity for pilgrims and tourists visiting Rome to see the Pope and hear him speak, and also to receive his blessing. The general audience of February 19 was held in the open, in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. It began with aides reading a passage from the Gospel of St. Mathew, in several languages.

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Based on the scripture passage, Pope Francis delivered his main discourse in Italian - summaries of which were read out by aides in various languages, including in English. But first, the aide greeted the Pope on behalf of the English-speaking pilgrims.

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… Dear Brothers and Sisters: Through the Sacraments of Initiation, we receive new life in Christ. This life we carry in earthen vessels, however, and we still experience temptations, suffering, and death. Because of sin, we can even lose this new life. Jesus therefore willed that the Church continue his works of salvation for her members, in particular through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which flows from the Paschal Mystery. The forgiveness we receive is not the result of our own efforts, but is the gift of the Holy Spirit reconciling us to God and to each other. While the celebration of the Sacrament is personal, it is rooted in the community of the Church, in which the Holy Spirit is present, uniting us all in Jesus Christ. When confessing our sins then, we confess to the priest who represents not only God but also the community of the Church that accompanies us on the path of conversion. Though this Sacrament is a great treasure, we may be tempted to dismiss it, perhaps due to laziness or embarrassment, or because of a diminishing sense of sin and its effects. Too often, we see ourselves as the centre and measure of all things, and our lives can go adrift. The Sacrament of Reconciliation calls us back to God, and embraces us with his infinite mercy and joy. May we allow his love to renew us as his children and to reconcile us with him, with ourselves, and with one another.

Pope Francis then greeted the English-speaking pilgrims in Italian.

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... I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Norway, Nigeria, Japan and the United States. May your visit to the Eternal City renew and deepen your love for Jesus Christ and his Church. God bless you all!

Papal Blessing

Joseph Paimpallikunnal


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