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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Taking it on the chin

In his book "The Stripping of the Altars", Eamonn Duffy tells of how the priest would quiz parishioners at their Easter shriving on whether they had carried out the works of mercy. One of those works is to visit people in prison. The other day, our Holy Father did this, going to see the prisoners at Rebbibia in Rome. He did a Q&A session in which one exchange went:
Q. My name is Federico. ... What can sick and HIV-positive prisoners ask of the Pope? ... We are barely mentioned, but, when we are, in aggressive terms, as if seeking to have us eliminated from society. This makes us feel subhuman.

A. "We have to endure the fact that people speak about us 'aggressively'. They also speak 'aggressively' about the Pope, yet nonetheless we move on. I think it is important to encourage everyone to think positively, to understand your sufferings, to understand the need to help you rise again. I will do my part, inviting everyone to think in the right way, not abusively but humanly, understanding that anyone can fall, but God wants everyone to reach Him. We must cooperate in a spirit of fraternity recognising our own fragility so that people can truly so that they can truly rise up and move forward with dignity, so that they may grow and thus find happiness in life, because life is granted to us by the Lord ... . The Lord will help you and we are close to you."
Rather moving, I thought. It reminded me of an old story from the CDF which I report as I remember it. One week, Cardinal Ratzinger was shown a copy of an Italian newspaper which had a hatchet piece about him. The junior official was nervous, thinking that the Cardinal would be angry. He read the piece through, then said "If I did not read something like that about myself each week, I would know that I was not doing my job."

H/T Rorate Caeli
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