“Jesus forgives. But there is something more here than forgiveness. For as a confessor Jesus goes beyond the law, for the law said that she had to be punished . Jesus was pure and could have throne the first stone. But he went beyond this. He doesn’t tell her that adultery is not a sin, but he doesn’t condemn her with the law. This, the Pope explained, is the mystery of Jesus’ mercy ... in being merciful Jesus goes beyond the law which commanded that she be stoned. Mercy is something which is difficult to understand: it doesn’t eliminate sin, for it is God’s forgiveness that does this. Mercy is the manner in which God forgives. For Jesus could have said: ‘I forgive you, go!’ as he had said to the paralytic: your sins are forgiven!. In this situation, however, Jesus goes further and counsels the woman to sin no more.
This is Jesus’ style as a confessor. He does not humiliate the adulterous woman. He does not say to her: 'what did you do, when did you do it, how did you do it and with whom did you do it!'. Instead, he tells her 'to go and sin no more': God’s mercy is great, God’s mercy is great: forgiving us by caressing us”.
Pope Francis, Monday, 7 April 2014