They are the men He designated to effect His mercy to penitent sinners.
I quote the above ending to John 8:11, because our Holy Father preached again yesterday on the topic of mercy and excoriated the "rigid who punish in the penitent [what] they themselves hide in their own soul."
He gives the beautiful example of forgiveness and mercy recorded in the eighth chapter of John, involving the woman caught in adultery. His Holiness stated, "I would just say some of the most beautiful and moving phrases from the Gospel: 'no one condemned you?' - 'No, no one, Lord' - 'Neither do I condemn'. Neither do I condemn you: one of the most beautiful phrases because it is full of mercy."
In what is likely an oversight, the remainder of verse 11 was omitted.
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This, of course, is the crux of the upcoming "Year of Mercy" and the looming threat of the Synod
Please note, moreover, that it was the Pharisees who sought to tempt Him by asking if divorce were permissible. And Jesus told them that the Mosaic concession of divorce was in the Old Law because of their hardness of heart.
Who are the rigid ones again?