“Punishment out of doggedness”

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the chapel at Santa Marta © Vatican Media/Romano Siciliani (CBA)

Pope Francis prayed for innocent convicts during his mass at the Vatican on Tuesday morning. "I want to pray today for all people who are suffering an unjust punishment because of doggedness," he said at the start of the service.

Without mentioning the case, Francis referred to the acquittal of Australian Cardinal George Pell (78), which was announced during the night.

Australia's top court had overturned the jail sentence of the former Vatican economy minister for sexual abuse on all five counts. The jury should have had doubts about the defendant's guilt based on the evidence, the unanimous decision of the seven judges published via Twitter said.

About persecution of Jesus

Francis himself, in his introduction to the Mass at his Santa Maria residence, spoke only about the biblical readings for Lent. In these, he said, the persecution of Jesus was recounted, how "teachers of the law were enraged against him," he was "condemned with doggedness and felt innocent".

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