Pope reveals he took his late confessor's cross

I swear when I heard this I thought it MUST be a fake story from the likes of “The Onion”.

But now I see it on legitimate news sources!?

I find it hard to believe.

Can it really be true?

I’m surprised I’ve found no discussion on this here at the forum being that the story is a few days old.


I cut a lock of my mother’s hair. Grief can lead to unpredictable behaviour. Good for him that he told this story, it makes him more one of us.

The word “stole” is hardly appropriate here. Do you really think that the late priest would begrudge his friend, the Archbishop, now Pope, his rosary?


I find it funny that anyone would really be saddened or alarmed at this, as we routinely take not only personal artifacts, but BONES of saints and holy people after they die as relics.

Sure, the guy wasn’t exactly a saint, but to Francis, he may of been.

It sounds like the Holy Father privately reveres this priest as a saint and did indeed treat the Rosary cross as a relic of sorts. I am sure the priest would want Francis to have it - since it continues to be a reminder of mercy for him.

Well, the Pope himself did use the word “thief” (at least that’s how it’s translated from the Italian), so I don’t think “stole” is too far off the mark.

What is important though is that we read his words in context.

Here’s the Vatican release of his speech
for those who haven’t see it yet.

It’s only available in Italian. I used an internet translation service.

Personally I think it’s better for us to be reminded that the pope is chosen from among human beings, than to mistakenly think that popes are somehow chosen at birth, or even earlier.

Thanks to His Holiness for sharing that little story.

Unfortunately, the coverage of his remarks misses the whole point. :shrug:
(No, I don’t mean you, Paul, I mean the way this story is being presented elsewhere).

From the story he tells, it seems to me he wanted a little something of his late confessor to remember his mercy and benevolence by. So he took the cross from the rosary. Was it a theft? Yea, and he seems to have confessed it (and admitted it to the world now.)

It seems to help him, and he carries it to this day.

Last week during this period he was also pointing out to anyone who would listen that he wasn’t superman and he had faults.

Well…I don’t hold a negative opinion of Pope Francis for this at all. I am just very surprised by it. I heard about it from a Protestant “friend” initially, who relayed the story in such a way as to denigrate the Pope and Catholicism in general. I really thought it must not be true, and that it was an internet “myth” going around.

So now you can all see how many non-Catholics might view this, especially our Protestant brothers and sisters who so often seem to want nothing more than the end of Catholicism.

Use it as a teaching moment between you and your friend. Tell your friend, everyone sins to some extent or another. Even prospective popes. That is the lesson the Pope is trying to convey in this story, I think. The cross also is a constant reminder to him that he did sin in the past and that his confessor had great mercy that he should have as well.

Our Holy Father is a great teacher, follow in his footsteps.

What a truly sad world in which we live. Pope Francis gives a beautiful moving speech on divine mercy, and all some can pick out is a tiny part which he uses to explain the importance of confession and how some priest draw penitents, because people see them not as lax, but as compassionate. The priest from whom he took the cross was not his private confessor, he was a priest to whom many of the clergy went to confess. Pope Francis went to pay his respects and found just two elderly people sitting beside the coffin. Feeling that the man deserved better than this, he bought roses and as he was arranging them he took the cross from the rosary placed in the priests hand and asked to be given even half of the man’s mercy. It’s a beautiful story.

When this speech is translated into English, I encourage all to read it. It contains enough for many days of reflection and meditation.

It’s at times like this that I thank my parents for encouraging me to maintain my Italian.

Both former Popes John Paul II and John XXIII are slated to be canonized this coming spring.

Once again, this Pope strikes a chord deep within me.

When my DM died, I kept her rosary and gave the funeral director mine, which had a great deal of memory attached to it.

When my DSIL was gravely ill, I visited Assisi and bought her a rosary in the Basilica, the most beautiful one I could find. Her parents had come from Italy, and she had never had an opportunity to visit there. She kept that rosary with her at all times until she died, and when she did, her DD asked if she could have that rosary for her DD.

For me, and it seems other people, rosaries are a tangible reminder of the spiritual life of their owner. That the Pope shares this human emotion and acted on it only emphasizes his loving spirit and encourages me to follow his example in living Our Lord’s teachings.

I am not RCatholic, and I too was shocked when I heard this story, just recently about Pope Francis. Let me state that it is not just what he revealed he did …that being taking the cross…but also by revealing his intentions, what came to his mind *immediately prior *to doing so “the thief that we all have inside…” and being aware of that, still proceeded.

My question is, is it not considered a sin - by the teaching of the church’s catechism, to retain a stolen object???


2409 Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another.

2412 In virtue of commutative justice, reparation for injustice committed requires the restitution of stolen goods to their owner:

Jesus blesses Zacchaeus for his pledge: “If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” Those who, directly or indirectly, have taken possession of the goods of another, are obliged to make restitution of them, or to return the equivalent in kind or in money, if the goods have disappeared, as well as the profit or advantages their owner would have legitimately obtained from them. Likewise, all who in some manner have taken part in a theft or who have knowingly benefited from it - for example, those who ordered it, assisted in it, or received the stolen goods - are obliged to make restitution in proportion to their responsibility and to their share of what was stolen.

A couple additional questions which may help answer yours:
*]Did Pope Francis UNJUSTLY keep the thieved property?
*]Did Pope Francis make restitution in PROPORTION to his responsibility?

Not sure any of us are in a position to answer this other than Pope Francis and his confessor.

If I would have thought about it at the time, I would have taken the whole Rosary from my Mother’s hands.(50 years ago) What good does it do in the grave??? I would love to have it today. Maybe he rescued it would be a better word !! God Bless, Memaw

Then it is a useless question isn’t it… no mention has been made about any ‘confessor’.

I do not know the particulars as to why he has keep the property. I am not in a position to condemn him. You do ask a reasonable question though.

"*At the end of time, will be permitted to contemplate the glorified flesh of Christ only those who have not been ashamed of the flesh of his brother injured and excluded .

I confess , I do well, a few times, read the list on which I will be judged , it does me good : it is in Matthew 25 .

These are the things that came to my mind, to share them with you . I am a bit ’ to the good , as they came … Cardinal Vallini : " A good look at consciousness "] We will do well . [applause]

In Buenos Aires - I speak of another priest - there was a famous confessor : this was Sacramentino . Almost all the clergy went to confession to him. When one of the two times I came, John Paul II asked for a confessor in the Nunciature , he is gone . And ’ old , very old … Did the Provincial his Order , the professor … but always confessor , always. It always had a tail , there, in the church of the Blessed Sacrament . At that time , I had lived in the Curia and Vicar General , and every morning , early, I went down to the fax machine to see if there was something . And on Easter morning I read a fax of the superior of the community : “Yesterday , half an hour before the Easter Vigil , died on Aristi father , 94 - or 96 ? - Years. The funeral will be this day … " . And on Easter morning I had to go for lunch with the priests of the nursing home - I did usually at Easter - and then - I said - I’m going to lunch after church. It was a large church , very large, with a beautiful crypt . I went down into the crypt and there was the coffin , only two old ladies who were praying there , but no flower. I thought : but this man, who forgave the sins of all the clergy of Buenos Aires, to me, not even a flower … I went up and I went to a florist - because in Buenos Aires at the intersections of the streets there are flower shops , on the streets, in places where there are people - and I bought flowers, roses … And I came back and started to prepare well for the coffin , with flowers … And I looked at the rosary in my hand … And now I came to mind - the thief that we all have inside , right? - And while sistemavo the flowers I took the cross of the rosary, and with a little ’ of strength I disconnected. And at that moment I looked at him and I said, " Give me half of your mercy.” I felt a strong thing that gave me the courage to do this and to do this prayer ! And then , the cross I put it here in my pocket. The shirts of the Pope does not have pockets , but I always bring here a small cloth bag , and from that day until now, that is cross with me. And when I get a bad thought against any person , my hand is here , always. And I feel grace ! That makes me feel good. How well does the example of a merciful priest , a priest who approaches the wounds …

If you think about it, you surely have known many, many, because the priests in Italy are good ! They are good . I believe that if Italy is still so strong , not so much for us bishops, but for the priests , for the priests ! It 's true , this is true! It is a bit ’ of incense to comfort you , you feel so .

The mercy . Think of the many priests who are in heaven and ask for this grace ! That will give mercy that they have had with their followers . And this is good .

Thank you so much for listening and for being here*".
[size=]The link in the OP no longer works. The quote above is the Google translation of the part of Pope Francis’ words in question. I think that intent plays a big part here in determining sinfulness. I don’t think that the action of this future Pope can be compared, for example, to grave robbers. This was a man who highly respected and mourned the death of his beloved priest friend/confessor. He said, “I felt a strong thing that gave me courage to do this and to do this prayer”. He must have felt like a thief to some extent, but it seems to me that in his grief he was just doing what God was leading him to do and gave him the courage to do. Perhaps God knew that the crucifix would be a valuable (of spiritual value) sacramental for this future pope.[/size]

Thank you ZAB for your response.

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