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Pope Francis Holds Special Jubilee Mass for Prisoners in St. Peter’s Basilica, urges Political Leaders across the world to respect Dignity of Inmates

Francis held a special Jubilee Mass Sunday for some 1,000 prisoners from 12 countries and their families, as well as prison chaplains and volunteers in St. Peter's Basilica

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Pope Francis celebrates the Holy Mass for the Jubilee of inmates, at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Nov. 6, 2016. VOA
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November 7, 2016: Pope Francis urged political leaders across the world to respect the dignity of inmates and offer them amnesty whenever possible.

Francis held a special Jubilee Mass Sunday for some 1,000 prisoners from 12 countries and their families, as well as prison chaplains and volunteers in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“Sometimes, a certain hypocrisy leads to people considering you only as wrongdoers, for whom prison is the sole answer,” Francis said in his homily.

Francis called for “a criminal justice system that is not exclusively punitive, but is open to the hope and the possibility of re-inserting the offender into society.”

“I wish to reiterate the importance to reflect on the need for a criminal justice system that is not exclusively punitive, but is open to the hope and the possibility of re-inserting the offender into society,” he said. “In a special way, I submit to the consideration of the competent civilian authorities in every country the opportunity to make, in this Holy Year of Mercy, an act of clemency towards those prisoners who will be considered eligible to benefit from this measure.”

The pope told the inmates that all people “have made mistakes” and urged them to never give up hope in God’s mercy.

The event was part of the Vatican’s Holy Year of Mercy, which comes to an end later this month, and was followed by Francis’ traditional Sunday “Angelus” blessing in St. Peter’s Square, where tens of thousands of worshippers had gathered, despite the morning rain.

Francis has called for a world-wide abolition of the death penalty and also opposes life in prison without parole.

The pontiff declared 2016 a special “Holy Year of Mercy” because he wants the Church’s 1.2 billion members to be more merciful and less rigid towards sinners during this holy year, also known as a Jubilee.

Roman Catholic holy years usually occur every 25 years, the last one being in 2000, but popes may call extraordinary ones to draw attention to particular issues or momentous events. (VOA)

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Mass Resignations of Catholic Bishops in Chile Over Sex Scandal

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said he had no comment on whether Pope Francis would accept the mass resignation.

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In an unprecedented move in the modern history of the Catholic church every bishop in Chile has offered his resignation to Pope Francis, in a case involving sex abuse scandal, media reported.
Catholic bishops in Chile resign over the issue of sex scandal. Pixabay

In an unprecedented move in the modern history of the Catholic church every bishop in Chile has offered his resignation to Pope Francis, in a case involving sex abuse scandal, media reported.

Thirty one active bishops and three retired bishops on Friday announced their resignation after a three-day emergency summit at the Vatican to discuss Chile’s sex abuse scandal.

The simultaneous resignation of all the bishops in a single country is thought to be unprecedented, CNN reported.

The resignations came as the bishops said they placed the issue “in the hands of the Holy Father so that he might freely decide for each one of us”.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said he had no comment on whether Pope Francis would accept the mass resignation.

In response to the resignation of the country’s bishops on Friday, Marie Collins, a former member of the Pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, said that the gesture was not enough.

“No bishop removed — all allowed to resign. Really nothing changes,” Collins wrote on Twitter.

In an unprecedented move in the modern history of the Catholic church every bishop in Chile has offered his resignation to Pope Francis, in a case involving sex abuse scandal, media reported.
Pope Francis has not commented on the issue yet. Pixabay

Pope Francis called the country’s bishops to Rome after he received a 2,300-page report detailing sexual abuses by priests in Chile.

At the centre of the scandal is the Bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros, whom Francis appointed in 2015 amid an outcry that Barros had known about and covered up abuses.

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The Pope stridently defended Bishop Barros, calling accusations against him “calumny”.

In an about-face in April, after receiving the Vatican investigator’s report, the Pope said he had made “grave errors in judgment”, and apologised to Chile’s sex abuse victims.

In May, the Pope met privately at the Vatican with three of Barros’ main accusers and asked their forgiveness. (IANS)