November 20, 2013 - Pope Francis held his weekly general audience on Wednesday, delivering
a discourse on the forgiveness of sins. The public meeting is an opportunity for
pilgrims and tourists visiting Rome to be able see and hear the Pope, and also receive
his blessing. The general audience of Nov. 20 was held in the open, in Rome’s St.
Peter’s Square. It began with aides reading a passage from the Gospel of St. John
in several languages.
Basing himself on the scripture passage, Pope Francis delivered his main discourse in Italian - summaries of which were read out by aides in various languages, including in English. But first, the aide greeted the Pope on behalf of the English-speaking pilgrims.
… Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today I would like to speak again on the forgiveness of sins by reflecting on the power of the keys, which is a biblical symbol of the mission Jesus entrusted to the Apostles. First and foremost, we recall that the source of the forgiveness of sins is the Holy Spirit, whom the Risen Jesus bestowed upon the Apostles. Hence, he made the Church the guardian of the keys, of this power. The Church, however, is not the master of forgiveness, but its servant. The Church accompanies us on our journey of conversion for the whole of our lives and calls us to experience reconciliation in its communal and ecclesial dimension. We receive forgiveness through the priest. Through his ministry, God has given us a brother to bring us forgiveness in the name of the Church. Priests, who are the servants of this sacrament, must recognize that they also are in need of forgiveness and healing, and so they must exercise their ministry in humility and mercy. Let us then remember always that God never tires of forgiving us. Let us truly value this sacrament and rejoice in the gift of pardon and healing that comes to us through the ministry of priests.
Pope Francis then greeted the English-speaking pilgrims in Italian.
… I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Wales, Korea and the United States of America. Upon all of you, I invoke God’s blessings of peace and joy! (BLESSING)