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Pope says treat prisoners with understanding

Pope John Paul II yesterday urged a group of officials and trainee Italian prison officers to follow the example of St Vincent de Paul in showing understanding of prisoners and demanding humane treatment.

The Pope received a number of officials of the Department of Prison Administration, as well as the inspector general of chaplains and a number of female police officers assigned to women's prisons who have just concluded a year of formation.

He told them to pay attention to their spiritual life, suggesting that it would help them achieve the virtues required to exercise their duties with a compassionate firmness. He also recognised the role of distinctively femininine characteristics.

"Being women certainly helps you, as you have those qualities proper to women that have such a positive effect on interpersonal relations," he said.

The Holy Father said of St Vincent de Paul, whose feast was celebrated yesterday: "He personally suffered the harshness of prison, and he taught the 'Dames' and then the Daughters of Charity to pay special attention to that category of poor people called 'convicts'. He asked them to show understanding and to demand human treatment for prisoners."

"The primary value of the human person," concluded the Pope, "must be the basis for all civil and professional ethics and of all relative formation. I am therefore happy to place your work under the protection of St. Vincent de Paul."

Treat prisoners with understanding, humanity, charity (Vatican Information Service 27/9/04)

Justice and Solidarity is the Path to Peace, says Pope (Zenit 26/9/04)
Pope Prays for Dignity and Security of Those at Sea (Zenit 26/9/04)
Pope Urges Christian Politicians to be Consistent with Gospel (Zenit 26/9/04)
Pope says charity also applies to rich countries in regard to poor ones (Catholic News Agency 27/9/04)
Pope says prison inmates must be treated with dignity and charity (Catholic News Agency 27/9/04)
Pope to return to Vatican on Wednesday, ending summer season (Catholic News Agency 27/9/04)
Pope denounces imbalance between rich and poor (Mail & Guardian 27/9/04)
Pope Denounces 'Imbalance' of Wealth (Associated Press/Yahoo 27/9/04)
Pope donates $100,000 toward relief efforts in flood-stricken Haiti (Catholic News Service 27/9/04)
Pope sees growing gap between rich and poor (Catholic World News 27/9/04)
Pope thanks summer staff, prepares return to Vatican (Catholic World News 27/9/04)
Pope John Paul II to miss special Mass on September 28 (Catholic Ireland 27/9/04)

28 Sep 2004