March 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 54

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    Today we bring you the Holy Father's Angelus from this past Sunday where the Holy Father addressed the multitudes in St. Peter's Square immediately after his unprecedented and historic Mea Culpa in St. Peter's Basilica during his Papal Mass. In his address he reiterated the necessity and sincerity in this universal pardon and reemphasized that it in no way impugns those Church members who have preceded us but is a cleansing process before God in order to allow all Catholics to clear their consciences and proceed in this new millennium as "credible witnesses of Hope." Because the Pope is on his annual Lenten Papal Retreat, he did not have his regular Wednesday Papal Audience. The full English text of his Angelus address was translated and provided by ZENIT news agency ZE00031208.

The Holy Father's Sunday Angelus Address from Sunday, March 12, 2000

    Dear Brothers and Sisters!

    1. Today we have celebrated the Day of Forgiveness in the framework of faith of the Great Jubilee. This morning in St. Peter's Basilica, I presided over a moving and solemn penitential act. On this first Sunday of Lent, in the name of all the Christian people, Bishops and ecclesial communities in different parts of the world have knelt before God to implore his forgiveness.

        The Holy Year is a time of purification: The Church is Holy because Christ is her Head and Spouse, the Spirit her vivifying soul and the Blessed Virgin and the saints her most authentic expression. However, the children of the Church know the reality of sin, whose shadows are reflected in her, darkening her beauty. For this reason, the Church does not cease to implore God's forgiveness for the sins of her members.

    2. This is not a judgment on the subjective responsibility of brothers who preceded us: this is something that corresponds only to God Who, unlike us human beings, is capable of "scrutinizing the heart and mind." Today's act is a sincere acknowledgement of the faults committed by the children of the Church in the remote and recent past, and a humble supplication for God's forgiveness. This will undoubtedly awaken consciences, enabling Christians to enter the third millennium more open to God and his plan of love.

        As we ask for forgiveness, we forgive. This is what we say every day when we pray the prayer Christ taught us: "Our Father... forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." May this Jubilee Day bring all believers the fruit of reciprocal forgiveness given and received!

        From forgiveness reconciliation flowers. This is what we desire for the whole ecclesial community, for the ensemble of all believers in Christ, and for the whole world.

    3. Forgiven and ready to forgive, Christians enter the third millennium as more credible witnesses of hope. After centuries characterized by violence and destruction, and after this particularly dramatic one, the Church presents to humanity, which crosses the threshold of the third millennium, the Gospel of forgiveness and reconciliation, as the premise to construct an authentic peace.

        Be witnesses of hope! This is also the theme of the Spiritual Exercises that I will begin this afternoon with my collaborators in the Roman Curia. Beginning now, I thank those who will accompany me in these days of prayer and I invoke the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Divine Mercy, to help all of us to live fruitfully the time of Lent.


March 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 54

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