During a visit to Auschwitz, Pope Francis wrote in the visitor log:”Lord, have mercy on your people Lord, sorry for such cruelty.” This statement is certainly problematic and requires some explanation. What did the Pope mean by this statement? There are some significant problems with the Pope’s prayer. Let’s examine them.
The problem with this statement is that Hitler grew up Catholic from a practicing mother who would take him to mass. Adolf Hitler stopped taking mass after his childhood and more than likely would not consider himself Catholic. Where I have outright concern is that this “prayer” would imply that God’s people were responsible for the genocide that occurred. Murder is a sin found in Exodus 20:13 and according to Catholic doctrine, an unpardonable sin according to . So would the implication of such a prayer be from the head of horrendous atrocities be Catholic? Even if he wasn’t perhaps there were some that were Catholic and at the forefront of such egregious sins.
The reality is that those who are true followers of Christ would not have participated in the genocide that occurred at Auschwitz. In fact, Jesus expounding the law of God said, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” It’s not just murder but hate will take us there according to Jesus. All you have to do is look at the end of Revelations and find that those who are murders, among other sins, are cast into the lake of fire.
Whatever the Pope’s purpose in writing those words were, they certainly weren’t founded in Scripture. The Bible says such were some of you in 1 Corinthians 6:11. The fact that some can be forgiven of murder or any sin is true but not to the extent that we might say some who lived such evil lives without true repentance would be forgiven. The apostle Paul was a murderer of Christians and yet he found faith and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Repentant, he no longer committed such sins but became a confessor of Jesus Christ. Those who were proponents of Auschwitz would have to walk with repentance before God.
This leads me to ask, are you forgiven of your sins. The Bible says, blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven. It is God who forgives sins to those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We cannot add any work for our salvation (Romans 4:4) and even faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-10). I pray that would look to Jesus Christ in faith, believe that he died and rose from the dead, and confess him as Lord and you shall be saved (Romans 10:9,10).