Pope Francis Comforts Man Who Wrote Letter After Brother Was Slain

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Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 02:13 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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An Italian man who wrote a letter to Pope Francis, angry about the shooting death of his brother, received a surprise called from the pontiff on Aug. 7, offering him words of comfort.

The Catholic News Agency said Pope Francis made the call to Michele Ferri after receiving the man's letter. Ferri's brother, who owned several gas stations, was killed last June by two employees who are now in prison.

Ferri, though, remained distraught, posting on his Facebook page before sending the letter, "I have always forgiven you for everything God, but not this time, this time I won't forgive you," according to the Catholic News Agency.

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Ferri said he thought it was a prank when he received the phone call until the pope started referencing the contents of the letter that he told no one about.

Father Mario Amadeo, the pastor at Ferri's parish, told the news agency the pope's phone call was "a very beautiful act that testifies to the kindness and greatness of this pontiff."

Earlier this month, Pope Francis called upon the church leaders to have "deeper encounters" with others.

"For me it is essential that the Church be close," Pope Francis said to Brazil's O Globo TV on Aug. 1, according to the Catholic News Agency. "The Church is mother. Neither you nor I can know a mother who communicates through letters."

The CNA wrote that the church must "bear witness to a certain simplicity, even poverty," saying that it offends the people when "those of us in the consecrated life are attached to money."

Pope Francis seems to be giving more access to those who may have felt shut out by previous popes.

"In a few short months, Pope Francis has upended that dynamic, alienating many on the Catholic right by refusing to play favorites and ignoring their preferred agenda items even as he stressed the kind of social justice issues that are near and dear to progressives," said an article by Religion News Service.

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