“I was in prison and you came to me” — Mt. 25:36

On the occasion of the Second World Meeting with Families, my thoughts turn to you who are in the Frei Caneca Penitentiary. I do not hide the fact that I suffer with you for your loss of freedom. I can image what that means. I suffer even more because I am aware that many of your families cannot count on your presence as fathers and sons, sometimes the only ones who can save them from destitution. I would therefore like to assure you that the Church is beside you in this time of trial. Christ wants to be with you, supporting you with his word and the certainty of his friendship. — Pope St. John Paul II

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I think of those who are locked up in prison. Jesus has not forgotten them either. By including the act of visiting of those in prison among the works of mercy, he wanted first and foremost to invite us to judge no one. Of course, if someone is in prison it is because he has done wrong, and did not respect the law or civil harmony. Therefore, in prison, he is serving his sentence. However, whatever a detainee may have done, he remains always beloved by God. Who is able to enter the depths of [an inmate’s] conscience to understand what he is experiencing? Who can understand his suffering and remorse? It is too easy to wash our hands, declaring that he has done wrong.

You cannot talk about paying a debt to society from a jail cell without windows. There is no humane punishment without a horizon. No one can change their life if they don’t see a horizon. And so many times we are used to blocking the view of our inmates. Take this image of the windows and the horizon and ensure that in your countries the prisons always have a window and horizon; even a life sentence – which for me is questionable – even a life sentence would have to have a horizon. — Pope Francis

2 comments on ““I was in prison and you came to me” — Mt. 25:36

  1. Mark says:

    That video was powerful. Wow!

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