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Pope at Roman Parish: 'Desire for Revenge Is Not Christian'

Visit to Saint Mary Josephine of the Heart of Jesus in Castelverde di Lunghezza Marks Holy Father’s 13th Pastoral Visit of This Type

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“The desire for revenge, the ‘you’ll pay for this,’ is not Christian.”
Pope Francis made this strong statement during his visit to a parish on the outskirts of the city of Rome, the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 19, the second visit of this type since the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, and the 13th visit of this nature.
The parish of Saint Mary Josephine of the Heart of Jesus in Castelverde di Lunghezza, is six kilometers east of the circular highway around Rome.
Path to Sanctity
The Pope presided over Mass in the church and improvised his homily, recalling that, as opposed to the law of retaliation, the Gospel invites faithful to turn the other cheek.
“Be holy as God is holy, perfect as your Father is perfect, who makes the sun shine over the good and the bad, and the rain fall over the just and the unjust,” he said, reminding those present that seeking revenge is not Christian.
“That ‘he did it to me’ … must be forgiven in the heart; this is the path to sanctity and this does away with wars. If all men and women of the world learned this, there wouldn’t be wars,” he continued.
“War begins here (he pointed to the heart), the desire for vengeance destroys families, neighborhoods, so much, so much …”
“Someone might ask: What should be done? Jesus’ says it, I don’t say it … love your enemies.
“Do I have to love this person?
“Yes.”
After giving this advice, Francis reminded those present to “pray for the one who persecutes you and does you harm, for him to change his life, so that the Lord will forgive him.”
The ‘Medicine’ to Cure Hatred, Vengeance
“This is the magnanimity of God, who forgives everything,” the Pope stressed.
Pope Francis concluded, asking: “Are you merciful with people that have harmed you or don’t like you?” and stressing that prayer is the antidote, “the only way out and the medicine to cure hatred and vengeance.”
The Pontiff, who had arrived at the parish shortly before 3:30 p.m., was received at the entrance of the church by Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, and by parish priest, Father Francesco Rondinelli.
As usual, the Holy Father greeted the people who were behind the barriers and shook many hands, blessing the children and the elderly and even allowing some individuals to have a “selfie” taken with him.
After meeting with children and young people, including their youth group, Francis also greeted the sick and the elderly, parents who baptized their children in the last few months, and with families helped by the parish Caritas, including workers and volunteers. The Jesuit Pontiff also heard some parishioners’ confessions.
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Pope’s Homily: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-st-mary-josephine-of-heart-of-jesus-parish-on-outskirts-of-rome/
Pope’s Words to Various Groups at Parish: to be made available shortly

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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