(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday sent a video message to the student-inmates of the Centro de estudiantes universitarios de Ezeiza, a higher education initiative attached to the Ezeiza prison complex.
The university centre, which began in 1994 in connection with a project of the University of Buenos Aires, teaches primarily sociology and applied sciences, including computer science and information technology.
Pope Francis has made regular phone calls to the inmates who study in the centre, which is beginning a new music programme.
Remarks to student-inmates
In his message, Pope Francis says, “The inmates are serving a penal sentence – a sentence for errors they have committed. Let us not forget, however, that, for punishment to be fruitful, it must have a horizon of hope, otherwise it remains locked in itself and is only an instrument of torture, it is not fruitful.”
The Holy Father goes on to say that what is needed is specifically the hope for social reintegration, for which social formation is a necessary ingredient.
Click below to hear our report
“That,” he says, addressing himself directly to the student-inmates, “is what you are doing,” i.e. looking to the future with hope.
“With this new music course you are looking toward social reintegration, [and] you are already reintegrating yourselves through your studies with the University of Buenos Aires.”
Punishment with a horizon of hope
“This,” he continues, “is a punishment with hope, a punishment with a horizon. Let me say once again: problems are there and will be there, but the horizon is bigger than the problems. Hope goes beyond all problems.”
The Holy Father also thanked the founders, directors, faculty and staff of the Ezeiza university centre, and asked the students to remember him in their prayers.
Below, the full video in the original Spanish
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