News archive 2011

Pope Tells Prisoners That Divine Justice Isn’t Like Man’s

Pope Tells Prisoners That Divine Justice Isn’t Like Man’s

Invites All to Leave Interior Prison of Sin

Benedict XVI says that divine justice and human justice are very different, since for humans, the two realities are distinguished, whereas for God, they coincide.

The Pope said this on Sunday when he went to Rebbibia prison in the north of Rome.

“Certainly, men are not able to work divine justice, but they must at least look to it, try to see the profound spirit that animates it, that it might enlighten human justice too to avoid — as unfortunately is not a rare occurrence — the situation in which the prisoner becomes one excluded. God, in fact, is he who powerfully proclaims justice but who, at the same time, cares for wounds with the balm of mercy,” the Holy Father said during his hour or so with the inmates, which also included a question-and-answer session.

“Justice and mercy, justice and charity, the hinges upon which the social doctrine of the Church turns, are two different realities only for men, who carefully distinguish a just act from an act of love,” the Pontiff explained. “For us justice is ‘what is owed to another’ and mercy is what is given out of goodness. And the one seems to exclude the other. But it is not so for God: in him justice and mercy coincide; there is no just action that is not also an act of mercy and forgiveness and, at the same time, there is no act of mercy that is not perfectly just.”

The Pope thus affirmed, “How far God’s logic is from ours! And how different is his way of acting from ours!”

Benedict XVI also spoke about the “prison” that affects all of us.

“The Child of Bethlehem will be happy when all men return to God with a renewed heart. Let us ask him in silence and in prayer for us all to be released from the prison of sin, from haughtiness and pride,” he said. “Everyone in fact needs to leave this interior prison to be truly free from evil, from anxiety and from death. Only that Child who was laid in a manger is able to bestow upon all this complete liberation!”

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