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Pope Francis Speaks on Phone at End of Weekly General Audience

Pope Francis spoke on the phone at the end of his general audience Aug. 11, 2021. Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

In an unusual occurrence, Pope Francis made an unknown phone call at the end of his weekly general audience on Wednesday.

A livestream video of the Aug. 11 audience in the Vatican’s Pope Paul VI Hall showed the pope giving his apostolic blessing, then being approached by one of his assistants. The two could be seen speaking together for a moment before Pope Francis was handed a cellphone which he put to his ear.

According to people present in the hall, the pope spoke on the phone for around two minutes, then gestured to the crowd that he would return soon and left the room. He came back shortly afterward to greet the people gathered to see him.

No other information is currently known about the mysterious phone call.

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The moment took place at the end of Pope Francis’ Wednesday general audience, after the Our Father was prayed in Latin.

The papal audiences were paused during July for a summer break, but have resumed this month.

Pope Francis greets people during his general audience in the Pope Paul VI Hall Aug. 11, 2021 / Vatican Media
Pope Francis greets people during his general audience in the Pope Paul VI Hall Aug. 11, 2021 / Vatican Media

During his audience, Pope Francis spoke about Galatians 3:19, which says: “Why, then, the law? It was added for transgressions, until the descendant came to whom the promise had been made; it was promulgated by angels at the hand of a mediator.”

“‘Why the law?’ This is the question that we want to deepen today,” Pope Francis said, explaining that when St. Paul “speaks about the Law, he is normally referring to the Mosaic Law, the law given by Moses, the Ten Commandments.”

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St. Paul is explaining to the Galatians that with the coming of Christ, the Law and God’s Covenant with the Israelites “are not linked indissolubly,” the pope said.

“The people of God,” he said, “we Christians, we journey through life looking toward a promise, the promise is what attracts us, it attracts us to move forward toward the encounter with the Lord.”

Francis explained that St. Paul was not opposed to the Ten Commandments, but that “several times in his Letters, he defends its divine origin and says that it possesses a well-defined role in the history of salvation.”

“The Law, however, does not give life, it does not offer the fulfillment of the promise because it is not capable of being able to fulfill it,” he underlined. “The Law is a journey, a journey that leads toward an encounter.”

Pope Francis said St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians “presents the radical newness of the Christian life: all those who have faith in Jesus Christ are called to live in the Holy Spirit, who liberates from the Law and, at the same time, brings it to fulfillment according to the commandment of love.”

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“This is very important. The Law leads us to Jesus,” he stated, stressing that this does not mean Christians are not required to follow God’s Commandments.

“No, the commandments are valid in the sense that they are ‘pedagogues’ [teachers] that lead you toward the encounter with Christ,” he said, warning people not to give greater importance to the commandments than to a relationship with Jesus.

“May the Lord help us to journey along the path of the commandments but looking toward the love of Christ, with the encounter with Christ, knowing that the encounter with Jesus is more important than all of the commandments,” he said.