Pope Francis recently in one of his homilies mentioned how we can never judge Judas for what he did. Then he refers to a particular medieval capital of a column in the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalen in Vézelay, Burgundy, France. The Successor of Peter describes how people in the Middle Ages taught the Gospel through sculptures and paintings. “On that capital, on one side there is Judas, hanged; but on the other is the Good Shepherd who is carrying him on his shoulders and is carrying him away,” Pope Francis said.
He also revealed that he has a photograph of that two-part capital behind his desk, because it helps him meditate. “There is a smile on the lips of the Good Shepherd, which I wouldn’t say is ironic, but a little bit complicit,” he describes. “There are many ways of reacting to shame; one is to despair, but we must try to help despairing people to find the true path of shame, so they don’t go down the path that put an end to Judas’ life.”