Pope opens Holy Year, places mercy above judgement

Pope Francis has opened the Jubilee Year of Mercy by calling for a Church that always puts mercy before judgement.

In a Mass at St Peter’s Square on December 8, Francis said the holy year is a gift of grace.

“How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we affirm that sins are punished by his judgment before putting first that they are forgiven by his mercy!” the Pope exhorted.

“It is truly so,” he said.

“We have to put mercy before judgment, and in every case God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy.

“Let us abandon all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved,” said Francis.

Saying that Christ is the door “through which we come to [God]”, the Pope pushed through the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI was the second person to follow Francis through the door.

Francis has asked that dioceses throughout the world open their own holy door at a cathedral or other church in the holy year.

By making a pilgrimage to a holy door in a jubilee year, an indulgence can be gained, as long as other conditions are fulfilled.

An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, whose guilt has already been forgiven.

At the St Peter’s celebration on December 8, tribute was also paid to the Second Vatican Council, which officially closed its work on December 8, 1965.

The eucharistic celebration on Tuesday was opened with readings of excerpts from the Council’s four constitutions and its documents on ecumenism and religious liberty.

In his homily, Francis noted the council was “a true encounter between the Church and the men and women of our time”.

“An encounter marked by the force of the Spirit, who pushed the Church to emerge from the shoals which for many years had kept her closed in herself, to set out once again, with enthusiasm, on her missionary journey,” he continued.

“It was the resumption of a journey of going to meet every person where they live: in their cities, in their homes, in their workplaces,” he said.


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News category: World.

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