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For the loved and tormented nation of Syria

· At the General Audience the Pope appeals to the consciences of those responsible for the bombings in Aleppo ·

An “appeal to the consciences of those responsible for the bombing” in Syria, “who will have to give an account before God”, was made by Pope Francis at the General Audience on Wednesday, 28 September, in St Peter’s Square. Visibly moved, the Pope again turned his thoughts to that “loved and tormented nation, where”, he explained, we continue to hear “traumatic news on the plight of the people of Aleppo”.

During the customary greetings to the groups of faithful, the Pope also expressed his concern for the “suffering of the Mexican people” and for those workers who were laid off in Basilicata: “The percentage of unemployment can increase no further”, he said.

Shortly before, Francis had dedicated his catechesis to the figure of the good thief. Commenting on the passage from the Gospel of Luke (23:33,39-43) which speaks of forgiveness on the cross, the Pope remarked firstly that Jesus remained “on this great cross, in this great suffering, and there he saved us”, while “we all know that it is not easy ‘to remain on the cross’, on our little everyday crosses”. In particular, Francis explained, the scene teaches that “God’s salvation is for everyone, without exception”.

“The Church is not only for those who are good or those who seem good or believe they are good”, the Pope said, “the Church is for everyone, and even preferably for those who are bad... This is why the Jubilee is a time of grace and mercy for everyone”. This is seen precisely in the figure of the good thief, a man who was condemned to die”, who became a “model of repentance” for us. Francis said that it is true that the good thief “was a crook... But in the end, he regretted what he had done, and, seeing Jesus, so good and merciful, he manages to steal Heaven”.

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St. Peter’s Square

April 26, 2018

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