Pope condemns lack of welcome in society for former inmates

2015-03-21 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) One of the highlights of Pope Francis’ day in Naples was his visit to the Detention Center of Poggioreale.

After a brief welcome by the Prison Director and by the chaplain, the Pope sat down to share a frugal meal with prison inmates. 

His 12 table guests included an Argentinean inmate and the overseer of the prison. Some of them were given the opportunity to ask the Holy Father a few questions.

To the man who asked him how to keep one’s faith in God once out of the prison and faced by many temptations, Francis agreed that it will not be not easy, but he said “you must not be discouraged, and if you fall you must immediately get to your feet and go forward”.

He pointed out that we all make mistakes and that sometimes there are things in life that are difficult to accept and impossible to explain, but he said God never forgets his children.

The second question the Pope answered regarded the lack of welcome in society so many former inmates are faced with when they finish serving their prison sentence.

The Pope described this reality as one of “the greatest cruelties of today’s society”.

He said that it is necessary to educate people whose moral judgment condemns former prisoners to a life of exclusion.

Francis also recalled that the first Saint to be canonized by the Church had been sentenced to death: the Good Thief to whom the crucified Jesus said: “Today you will be with me in Paradise”.

This – the Pope said – is what society has to learn. When He forgives He forgets the sin, “no one has the right to not forget the sin of a person who has paid his debt, who has asked forgiveness to society”.

Before leaving the prison Pope Francis took time to greet and to shake hands with every single inmate present.




(from Vatican Radio)