Pope Francis apologizes to evangelicals for Catholic hostility
Address to Protestant congregation made at request of old friend
Pope Francis apologized for Catholic cooperation in campaigns against Pentecostalists and Evangelicals, during a visit to a Protestant congregation in Caserta on July 28.
The Pope was traveling to the Italian city for the 2nd time in 3 days. On the previous Saturday he had visited the Catholic community in Caserta.
Pope Francis spoke to the Church of Reconciliation at the invitation of the pastor, Rev. Giovanni Traettino, with whom he has been friendly for years. The pastor greeted him as “my beloved brother,” and said that many Evangelicals pray daily for the Roman Pontiff.
The Pope, in his short address, said that some Catholics acted against Evangelicals “as if they were crazies,” and asked for forgiveness “for those Catholic brothers and sisters who did not understand and were tempted by the devil,” according to Italian news reports. His talk was warmly received by the 200 members of the congregation.
The papal visit to the Evangelical congregation had become a sensitive matter in Caserta, where Catholics had insisted that the Holy Father should first visit with the Catholics of the city. The Vatican stressed that the 2nd papal trip to Caserta was a “strictly private” visit, and no secular reporters were allowed into the church. Reports on the Pope’s talk came from Vatican sources and from others in attendance.
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