Pope Francis decries attack on Nigerian churchgoers, violence in auto

Pope Francis decries attack on Nigerian churchgoers, violence in auto

The woman, he said, was one of many poor women who were visited secretly even by those who denounced them as sinful.

Rather, "the Church is a people of sinners who experience the mercy and forgiveness of God", he said, adding that St. Peter understood the truth about himself when the cock crowed, instead of his generous works, "which swelled his chest, making him feel superior to others". Reflecting on the passage in Luke's Gospel (Lk 7:44-50) in which Jesus forgives the sins of the woman who bathed his feet with her tears and a precious ointment, Pope Francis said Jesus' merciful action causes scandal, because it overturns the dominant attitude of his time.

"But the attitude of Jesus is different", the Pope said, noting that from the beginning of his ministry Jesus embraced lepers, the sick and the marginalized. Jesus feels compassion. Literally: "Jesus feels a tremor within".

Finally, Pope Francis said God's mercy both transforms us and renews our hope.

The Sovereign Pontiff said these attacks were perpetrated against innocent people.

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Pope Francis asked for prayers for peace in the Central African Republic, and repeated his expression of sympathy for the attack on a Catholic church in Nigeria, at the close of his regular weekly public audience on August 9.

The Pope reiterated his "profound sadness" at the attack on a Catholic church in southern Nigeria on Sunday that left 13 people dead and injured 26.

In the Central African Republic, violence between the séléka and anti-balaka factions is intensifying.

He called on pilgrims to think of "our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and in the Central African Republic" and to pray for them.

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