Salvation is free of charge: Pope Francis

Vatican City, Dec 17 (IANS/AKI) Salvation is not something you pay for, Pope Francis said, warning pilgrims against tricksters who try to charge them to pass through the Holy Door during the Catholic Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“Watch out for some crafty individual who may tell you that you have to pay,” he told some 15,000 pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday for his weekly general audience.

“But you don’t pay for salvation, you don’t buy it,” he said.

The Vatican is on high alert for swindlers hoping to target tourists and pilgrims by offering seemingly ‘official’ package deals at extortionate fees or peddling fake goods.

Italian police have confiscated 3,500 fake “papal benedictions” worth 70,000 euros (about $74,0000 in a blitz against swindlers which saw one million objects seized in a week, the interior ministry said on Monday.

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