December 20, 2014
Pope Francis reveals 'mercy' theft
The rosary cross he wears in a little pouch under his cassock belongs to a late confessor of his, a Buenos Aires priest who had heard confessions from priests to Pope John Paul II. “He” is Pope Francis who has just revealed a story that ends with a “Give me half your mercy” moral.
During a gathering with Roman priests at the Vatican today, the head of the Catholic Church recalled the anecdote about a “very old” confessor of Buenos Aires who had heard confessions even from Pope John Paul II when the late pontiff visited Argentina.
When Francis heard the news of the confessor’s death, he decided to attend the service at a local church. “It was a big, very big church, with a beautiful crypt. I went down to the crypt and there was the coffin; (there were) only two old women praying but not a single flower,” the ex Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who was a vicar at that time told priests to continue with the story. “And I thought this man who had forgotten the sins of the whole clergy of Buenos Aires, including me, not even a flower? I went out to a flower shop (…) and bought roses.”
The pope then started “to set the Coffin with flores”. “I loked at the rosary he was holding in his hand and that thief we all have in our minds immediately came to me and while I was arranging the flowers, I took the cross of the rosary. At that moment, I looked at him and told him: ‘Give me half your mercy.’ I felt something strong that gave me the courage to do it and deliver this prayer.”
The cross that belonged to his late confessor, he still wears it in a fabric pounch he carries under his papal cassock. “When a bad though against someone comes to me, my hand comes here, always; and I feel the grace, that makes me feel good. The example of a merciful priest makes good, of a priest who approaches to the wounds,” Pope Francis finally said.