Pope Francis stresses mercy message on 3rd anniversary

Francis began his papacy in 2013

Pope Francis
Pope Francis delivers his message during an audience on the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy celebrations in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Saturday, March 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is marking his third anniversary as pope by reinforcing his message of mercy and giving away 40,000 copies of the Gospel of St. Luke.

Nuns who work in the Vatican’s free pediatric clinic and Rome grandparents handed out the booklets to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for Francis’ Sunday blessing.

Francis began his papacy in 2013 by stressing a mercy-over-morals message — one that he is emphasizing in particular during his Holy Year of Mercy.

Francis told the crowd the Biblical story of the adulterous woman whom Jesus refused to condemn. Francis said: “This woman represents all of us, adulterers before God, traitors of his trust. And her experience represents the will of God for all of us: Not our condemnation, but our salvation through Jesus.”

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