The Pope Wrote a ‘Letter to the Editor’ at an Italian News Paper

Yesterday, La Repubblica newspaper in Italy received an unsolicited letter from a reader, and took the unprecedented step of running it in its entirety. The letter was from Pope Francis himself. Over the summer, the paper had run a series of editorials that “asked” the Catholic Church leader a number of hypothetical questions. The articles weren’t actually addressed to the Pope directly; they were just written in the “open letter” style as a way to examine issues going on in society from the perspective of a religious skeptic. Well, the Pope decided to just go ahead and answer them.

The letter is a fascinating read, in which the Pope explains his personal story of coming to faith (“For me, faith began by meeting with Jesus. A personal meeting that touched my heart and gave a direction and a new meaning to my existence”), theology ("Jesus rose from the dead: not to be triumphant over those who refused him, but to certify that the love of God is stronger than death, the forgiveness of God is stronger than any sin”) and his perspective on grace (“God's mercy has no limits if he who asks for mercy does so in contrition and with a sincere heart”). Here’s to hoping the Pope will have time to add the role of editorial columnist to list of duties. (Also, despite a somewhat deceiving headline making the rounds, the nowhere in the letter does the Pope actually say, “You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven.” Though the Pope does have some interesting thoughts on grace and forgiveness, you can make your own theological judgments about his letter by reading it on the La Repubblica website) …

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