03 December 2015, The Tablet

Mercy is Church's message to world

Francis, more than any other recent Pope, teaches by the way he acts. He stopped his popemobile in the capital city of the Central African Republic (CAR), Bangui, to bless a young Christian man maimed in a terrorist attack by Muslim rebels, which also killed his mother and father. Responding to the Pope, the man said he was now ready to forgive those who had harmed him. This message of forgiveness was central to the Pope’s mission to East and Central Africa, which also took in Kenya and Uganda. And it poses the question: what is the relationship between forgiveness – mercy – and justice, the word more usually used to describe how wrongs should be righted? It is no coincidence that the Pope chose Central Africa, and the CAR in particular, as the launchpad for the Year of
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