Pope Francis on Saturday addressed members of the Tribunal of the Vatican City State and other officials concerned with the administration of justice and the protection of law and order.

Justice begins with personal conversion

The Holy Father offered two main points of reflection in his address.

First, he spoke about the Gospel, which teaches us “that the justice proposed by Jesus is not a simple set of rules applied technically, but a disposition of the heart that guides those who have responsibility”.

He emphasized that justice must begin within each one, with “our own personal conversion”. This, he said, “is the only justice that generates justice!”

Pope Francis noted, too, that justice must be accompanied by other virtues, especially the other cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, and fortitude.

He said that judges especially must find answers that combine justice with the higher virtue of mercy – which “is not the suspension of justice but its fulfilment”.

He also encouraged them to continue in their commitment “to understand the causes of error, and the fragility of those who have broken the law”.

Reforms an integral part of Church’s ministry

The Pope’s second main point of reflection dealt with “the laws that regulate interpersonal relationships” and “the ethical values” that provide the context for those laws.

He noted the reforms that have brought significant changes to Vatican legislation, motivated by a need for modernization, “but also and above all the need to respect international commitments the Holy See has undertaken on behalf of the Vatican state”.

These commitments, the Pope said, deal primarily with the protection of human persons and social groups.

“The main purpose of these reforms”, he continued, “must therefore be inserted within the Church’s mission; indeed, it is an integral and essential part of her ministerial activity”. 

Effectiveness and efficiency of enforcement

The recent reforms have brought to light “suspicious financial situations”, he said, which are still under investigation.

But he highlighted the fact that the first reports of irregularities came from within the Vatican itself, demonstrating “the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement actions, as required by international standards”.

In particular, Pope Francis noted that the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City “has also distinguished itself for its investigative activity in support of the Office of the Promoter of Justice”.

While praising the work of reform, Pope Francis recognized that all efforts at reform remain dependent on people.

“We need, therefore, a particular attitude on the part of the operators, not only intellectually, but also morally and deontologically”, he said.

“In this sense, the promotion of justice requires the contribution of the right people”.

Awaiting Divine Justice

Pope Francis concluded his address by reminding those present of the words of Jesus in the Gospel: “By the measure with which you judge, you will be judged”.

The Gospel, he said, “reminds us that our attempts at earthly justice always have as their ultimate horizon the encounter with divine justice, that of the Lord which we await. These words should not frighten us, but only encourage us to carry out our duty with seriousness and humility”.

Pope receives Željko Komšić of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Also on Saturday morning, Pope Francis received in audience Željko Komšić, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A Holy See Press Office statement said discussions between the two leaders took place in a cordial atmosphere, and specified that “the parties focused on the good bilateral relations and the domestic situation of the country, with particular attention to the Catholic community. Likewise, the need to guarantee full respect for the rights of all citizens and the effective equality of the three constituent peoples”.

Finally, mention was made of some topics “of mutual interest regarding the international and regional context, such as peace and security, the need to foster paths of dialogue to face the various themes in the Western Balkans and the prospects for the enlargement of the European Union in the region.”

The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the body which collectively serves as head of state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It comprises three members: one Bosniak, one Serb, and one Croat.

The three members elected at any one election serve a collective four-year term. Although the body is the collective head of state, one member is designated as Chairperson whose position rotates twice around the three members every eight months.

After meeting with the Pope, Željko Komšić subsequently held talks with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and with the Under-Secretary for Relations with States, Msgr. Mirosław Wachowski.

(Source: Vatican News)

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