Benedict XVI asks that human dignity be respected of each prisoner at the visit to the Rebibbia district prison in Rome
Justice and mercy
Joy and emotion. These were the sentiments expressed by Benedict XVI, speaking to the inmates in the Rebibbia district prison, with whom he spent the good part of Sunday morning, 18 December. A meeting, between the Pope and the prisoners, on the edge of tangible emotion, at which Benedict XVI interpreted the tragedy lived by the prison population, especially this Italian prison, due to overcrowding. A situation, he said that for the inmates turns into a “double sentence”, one served unjustly. The Church, he assured, “supports and encourages every effort to guarantee everyone a dignified life”. The Pontiff then underlined the fact that “human justice and divine justice differ widely. People are unable to of course to apply divine justice. However they must at least look at it, seeking to understand the profound spirit that motivates it so that it may also illumine human justice and there by prevent the prisoner from becoming an outcast, which unfortunately happens all too often”. “God's logic” is far away from human logic. For this reason justice and mercy, justice and charity coincide at the point which “there is no just action that is not also an act of mercy and pardon, and at the same time, there is no merciful action that is not perfectly just”.
The second part of the meeting was characterized by an unprecedented conversation between Benedict XVI and various inmates. The Pope responded to each question showing to gather from time to time the sense of personal suffering of each one, the font of the concerns and the cry for help. Later during the usual appointment with the faithful in St Paul's Square for the Angelus the Pontiff remembered the victims of the tropical storm which hit the Philippines. Monday morning, 19 December Benedict XVI received the children for Italian Catholic Action for his traditional Christmas greetings.
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