Pope Francis has described himself as a ‘sinner’ in need of God’s mercy, as he reveals how the Roman Catholic’s debates over divorce have impacted on his own family.
In the first book of his papacy, the Pope – a frequent visitor to prisons – told how he could have been in jail if he was wasn’t a pontiff and refers to his ‘special relationship’ with convicts.
The revelation came as he declared one of his nieces had married a divorced man in the book The Name of God is Mercy.
In extracts, Francis said: ‘I have always been very much attached to them, precisely because of the awareness that I have of being a sinner.’
‘Every time I cross the doorway of a prison, I always ask myself, “Why are they are here, and not me?” I should be here, I should deserve to be here. Their fall could have been mine. I don’t feel superior to those in front of me.’
The book will be published on Tuesday in 86 countries and compromises a series of interviews, some of them highly personal, with the 79-year-old Argentine-born pope.
In the book, he also calls for the Church to be more welcoming of gays.
He insists that his now-infamous “Who am I to judge” comment about gays was merely a repetition of the church’s teaching on homosexuality.
Francis won praise from gays with the comment, uttered during his first press conference in 2013.
Francis says the church has long held that gays should be treated with dignity and respect and seen as individuals. And he goes to some length throughout the text to cite scripture and previous popes to make clear that his radical agenda is fully rooted in the church’s basic teachings.
In the Catholic Church, the pope is claimed to the visible head of the church because of their belief that Jesus Christ made Peter the head of the church.
The popes have been the cause of numerous heretical doctrines entering Catholicism. Though the worlds pagan religious zealots will end up in the lake of fire, the pope believes he is God, so he also believes he can personal grant salvation to Bhuddists, Muslims, witches, etc:
“[T]he followers of other religions can receive God’s grace and be saved by Christ apart from the ordinary means which he has established…”
-Pope John Paul II, “Letter to the Bishops of Asia,” Jan 23, 1990, Sect 4; See also Lee Penn, False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, published Sophia Perennis, 2004, p. 233, ISBN: 9781597310000
“The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ…”
-Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio; See also Duncan Reid & Mark W. Worthing, Sin and Salvation, ATF Press, 2003, p. 215, ISBN: 9781920691042