Notable quotations from Pope John Paul II and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
Before Christ, Who, out of love, took our guilt upon Himself, we are all invited to make a profound examination of conscience.
One of the characteristic elements of the Great Jubilee is what I described as the "purification of memory" (Bull Incarnationis mysterium, n. 11)... I asked that "in this year of mercy, the Church, strong in the holiness which she receives from her Lord, should kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters" (ibid).
The recognition of past wrongs serves to reawaken our consciences to the compromises of the present, opening the way to conversion for everyone.
Let us forgive and ask forgiveness! While we praise God Who, in His merciful love, has produced in the Church a wonderful harvest of holiness, missionary zeal, total dedication to Christ and neighbor, we cannot fail to recognize the infidelities to the Gospel committed by some of our brethren, especially during the second millennium.
Let us ask pardon for the divisions which have occurred among Christians, for the violence some have used in the service of the truth and for the distrustful and hostile attitudes sometimes taken towards the followers of other religions.
Let us confess, even more, our responsibilities as Christians for the evils of today. We must ask ourselves what our responsibilities are regarding atheism, religious indifference, secularism, ethical relativism, the violations of the right to life, disregard for the poor in many countries.
As we confess our sins, let us forgive the sins committed by others against us. Countless times in the course of history Christians have suffered hardship, oppression and persecution because of their faith.
The acceptance of God's forgiveness leads to the commitment to forgive our brothers and sisters and to be reconciled with them.
Forgiven and ready to forgive, Christians enter the third millennium as more credible witnesses to hope... The Church offers humanity ... the Gospel of forgiveness and reconciliation, a prerequisite for building genuine peace.
Mary, Mother of forgiveness, help us to accept the grace of forgiveness which the Jubilee generously offers us.
(Sources: Homily at Mass for First Sunday of Lent, "Day of Pardon", March 12, 2000 and Angelus Message, March 12, 2000)
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