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Pope Francis Holds Mass for Prisoners at Vatican

Image: Pope Francis Holds Mass for Prisoners at Vatican

Pope Francis holds a special Jubilee Mass for prisoners in St Peter's Basilica, Vatican on Nov. 6, 2016, bringing a message of mercy and hope to inmates from around the world. (Eric Vandeville/Sipa via AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 07 November 2016 10:16 AM

Pope Francis held a special mass for prisoners on Sunday, telling them that all people “have made mistakes.”

Francis held the mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, standing before a congregation of 1,000 prisoners from 12 countries as well as their families, The New York Daily News noted. The mass came as part of the Vatican’s Holy Year of Mercy.

“Today we celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy for you and with you, our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned,” the Pope told the prisoners as he added that while breaking the law has its consequences, “hope must never falter.”

“I want to tell you, every time I visit a prison I ask myself: ‘Why them and not me? We can all make mistakes: all of us. And in one way or another we have made mistakes,” Francis said, per CBS News.

During the mass, Francis addressed some of the unfortunate disadvantages of being a prisoner and alluded to the notion that they should be given a second chance at life when possible.

“Sometimes, a certain hypocrisy leads to people considering you only as wrongdoers, for whom prison is the sole answer,” Francis said, per CBS News. “We don’t think about the possibility that people can change their lives. We put little trust in rehabilitation…into society. But in this way we forget that we are all sinners and often, without being aware of it, we too are prisoners.”

After the mass, as the Pope addressed tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday blessing, he had a message for political leaders around the world, insisting that they show respect to inmates and when eligible for it, offer them amnesty, Reuters noted.

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

“At times, we are locked up within our own prejudices or enslaved to the idols of a false sense of wellbeing. At times, we get stuck in our own ideologies or see the laws of the market as absolute even as they crush other people,” Francis said.

Francis has been known to speak in favor of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, according to CBS News. He’s on record speaking in favor of “the poor, the sick, the elderly, migrants and prisoners.” Francis has even encouraged the government to find alternatives for incarceration and get rid of the death penalty.

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Pope Francis held a special mass for prisoners on Sunday, telling them that all people "have made mistakes."
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Monday, 07 November 2016 10:16 AM
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