RNA - Addressing thousands of people during Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, the Pope said, “God continues to love us all, even the worst of us.”
“You may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things, but the Lord continues to love you. How often do we think that God is good if we are good and punishes us if we are bad! Yet, that is not how he is,” said the Argentine pontiff.
“God does not love you because you think and act the right way. He loves you, plain and simple. His love is unconditional; it does not depend on you,” he added.
The Catholic Church has faced a series of child sexual abuse accusations across the world in the past few decades.
Without directly mentioning the crisis, Francis said that “whatever goes wrong in our lives, whatever doesn’t work in the Church, whatever problems there are in the world, will no longer serve as an excuse.”
In a most recent case, Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell was convicted of abusing two choir boys in Melbourne in 1996.
Francis himself has previously faced accusations of not responding effectively to the Church’s sex-abuse crisis. Last year, he was accused of wrongdoing by rehabilitating a top official who had abused his authority.
In an attempt to confront the abuses, the Pope last Tuesday abolished the rule of “pontifical secrecy” in sex abuse investigations.
The rule allowed some Church officials to hide behind it instead of cooperating with authorities over child abuse accusations.