03 March 2015, The Tablet

‘Who am I to judge?’ means scrutinising oneself first, says Pope

Pope Francis told Christians to judge their own sinfulness before pointing the finger at other people.

In a homily yesterday at Mass at his home in the Domus Sancta Marthae in Rome, the Pope said that Christians should start by judging themselves.

“Walking down the street, I pass by a prison and say: ‘Well, they deserve it’ – ‘Yet do you know that if it weren’t for the grace of God you would be there? Did you ever think that you are capable of doing the things that they have done, even worse?’”

“This is what judging yourself means – not hiding from the roots of sin that are in all of us, the many things we are capable of doing, even if we cannot see them,” he said.

Pope Francis caused controversy in 2013 when reporters questioned him about a gay lobby in the Vatican and he responded: “A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will -- well, who am I to judge him?”

His words aboard the return flight from World Youth Day in Brazil were interpreted by some as a softening of the Church’s position on homosexuality.

In yesterday's homily Pope Francis quoted the same phrase again and said: "When someone learns to accuse oneself, one is merciful toward others - ‘Yes, but who am I to judge if I am capable of doing worse things?'”

Above: Pope Francis gives the thumbs up as he arrives to lead the weekly audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican in February. Photo: CNS photo/Giampiero Sposito, Reuters

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