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Question
Dear Maria,

"miserando atque eligendo" is known as the Pope's motto.
What's the exact meaning of this?

Thank you.

J

Answer
Dear John,

the Pope's motto "miserando atque eligendo" “literally means: “by having mercy and  by choosing”.

Note that “miserando” is the gerund ablative of the deponent verb “miseror”(I feel compassion(I have mercy), while “eligendo” is the gerund ablative of the verb “eligo” ( I choose).


Such a motto comes from a homily by the Venerable Bede (English monk, born 672 or 673 and died 735 AD) regarding the calling of St. Matthew by Jesus (Homily 21), where we read :
”Vidit ergo Jesus publicanum  et quia miserando atque eligendo vidit, ait illi: “Sequere me”
(Jesus saw a tax collector[i.e. Matthew] and because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: “Follow me”).


To conclude, the motto “miserando atque eligendo” is a homage to the divine mercy of Jesus Christ, who  called  the young Mario Jorge Bergoglio to the religious life.

Best regards,

Maria

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Maria

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I am an expert in Latin & Ancient Greek Language and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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