Here is a ZENIT transcription and translation of Pope Francis’ address today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The apostolic trip that I took some days ago 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.
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.
Guadalupe is the marian sanctuary most visited in the world. From all of America, people go to pray there where the ‘Dark-skinned Virgin’ appeared to the Indian, St. Juan Diego, beginning the evangelization of the continent and its new civilization, a fruit of the encounter between diverse cultures.
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 luminous example of what I am saying 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.
Thus I give thanks to the Lord and to the Virgin of Guadalupe for the gift of this pilgrimage. I also thank the president of Mexico and the other civil authorities for their warm welcome. And I deeply thank my brothers in the episcopate and all of the people who in various ways collaborated.
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:[Hail Mary full of grace…] [Angelus]
Dear brothers and sisters, tomorrow, Monday, an international conference begins in Rome that is titled “For a World Without the Death Penalty,” promoted by the Sant’Egidio Community.
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.
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.
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.
I give a cordial greeting to families, to the parish groups and associations, to all the pilgrims of Rome, of Italy, and of other countries. I greet the faithful of Seville, Cadiz, Ceuta, those of Trieste, Corato and Turin.
A special thought goes out to the Community of John XXIII, founded by Servant of God Oreste Benzi, which next Friday will sponsor along the streets of Rome a Via Crucis of solidarity and prayer for women who are victims of human trafficking.
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 pardon and fraternity, especially in this year of mercy. I wish all of you a good Sunday. And please don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and until later![Transcribed and translated by ZENIT]