Pope Francis backs peaceful protests, appeals to govts to listen

Pope Francis appealed to governments around the world to listen to the voice of the people as he noted “numerous popular protests” in many countries in recent weeks.

In his address after praying the Angelus on Sept. 13, the pope noted “the growing unease of civil society in the face of particularly critical political and social situations.”

He appealed to the demonstrators “to present their demands peacefully, without giving in to the temptation of aggression and violence.”

The pope also appealed “to all those with public and governmental responsibilities to listen to the voice of their fellow citizens and to meet their just aspirations.”

He urged those in power to ensure “full respect for human rights and civil liberties.”

Pope Francis called on “ecclesial communities” in areas of protests “to work for dialogue, always in favor of dialogue, and in favor of reconciliation,” adding that the Church should talk about forgiveness and reconciliation.

Pope Francis earlier reflected on the day’s Gospel reading that reminded the faithful that asking for God’s forgiveness requires extending forgiveness to others too.

The Sunday Gospel reading was about a servant who asked his master to forgive his enormous debt but turned out to be pitiless toward his companion who owed him a modest sum.

The pontiff said the parable shows two different attitudes — “God who always forgives” and the attitude of a human person.

“The divine attitude is justice pervaded with mercy, whereas the human attitude is limited to justice,” said Pope Francis.

“Jesus exhorts us to open ourselves with courage to the strength of forgiveness, because in life not everything can be resolved with justice,” he said.

The pope stressed the need for a “merciful love,” which he said is the basis of Christ’s answer to Peter, when the latter asked how often he must forgive.

Pope Francis reminded the faithful that Jesus teaches humanity to forgive “not seven times but seventy-seven times.”

“In the symbolic language of the Bible this means that we are called to forgive always,” he said.

“How much suffering, how many wounds, how many wars could be avoided if forgiveness and mercy were the style of our life,” said the pontiff.

He also cited families that are disunited because people “do not know how to forgive each other.”

“It is necessary to apply merciful love to all human relationships: between spouses, between parents and children, within our communities, in the Church and also in society and politics,” said the pope.

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