Skip to comments.‘May the balm of mercy reach everyone’, says Francis as he proclaims Holy Year
Posted on 04/12/2015 1:38:17 PM PDT by NYer
Pope says Holy Year of Mercy is 'a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation'
Mercy is what makes God perfect and all-powerful, Pope Francis has said in his document officially proclaiming the Holy Year of Mercy.
If God limited himself to only justice, he would cease to be God, and would instead be like human beings who ask merely that the law be respected, the Pope wrote in Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), which is the bull of indiction calling a Holy Year to begin on December 8.
Standing in front of the Holy Door of St Peters Basilica, Pope Francis handed copies of the document to the archpriests of the major basilicas of Rome and to Vatican officials representing Catholics around the world.
Portions of the 9,300-word proclamation were read aloud before Pope Francis and his aides processed into St Peters Basilica to celebrate the first vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday.
In his homily at Vespers, the Pope said he proclaimed the Year of Mercy because it is the favourable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The boundless nature of Gods mercy his willingness always to forgive anything has been a constant subject of Franciss preaching and is explained in detail in the document, which outlines some of the specific projects the Pope has in mind for the year.
The Old Testament stories of how God repeatedly offered mercy to his unfaithful people and the New Testament stories of Jesus compassion, healing and mercy demonstrate, the Pope said, that the mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality through which he reveals his love, just like mothers and fathers love their children.
How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God, he wrote. May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the kingdom of God is already present in our midst.
Nothing in the Churchs preaching or witness, he said, can be lacking in mercy.
Pope Francis asked that all dioceses around the world designate a Door of Mercy at their cathedral or another special church or shrine, and that every diocese implement the 24 Hours for the Lord initiative on the Friday and Saturday before the fourth week of Lent. In Rome the last two years, the Pope has opened the celebration with a penance service in St Peters Basilica and churches around the city were open for the next 24 hours for Confessions and Eucharistic Adoration.
The Pope said he will designate and send out Missionaries of Mercy to preach about mercy. They will be given special authority, he said, to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See. Under Church law, those sins involve: a man who directly participated in an abortion and later wants to enter the priesthood; priests who have broken the seal of Confession; priests who have offered sacramental absolution to their own sexual partners; desecrating the Eucharist; and making an attempt on the life of the Pope. Usually, the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court, handles those cases.
Francis urged all Catholics to spend more time practicing what traditionally have been called the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The corporal works are: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, giving drink to the thirsty and burying the dead. The spiritual works are: converting sinners, instructing the ignorant, advising the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving injuries and praying for the living and dead.
The date the Pope chose to open the year December 8 is the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. Both dates, he wrote, are related to the Year of Mercy.
Mercy, he said, is the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sins. That bridge was made concrete when God chose Mary to be the mother of his son.
The Year of Mercy, Pope Francis wrote, is also a way to keep the Second Vatican Council alive. The walls which too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way, he said. The council recognised a responsibility to be a living sign of the Fathers love in the world.
The life and action of the Church, he said, is authentic and credible only when she becomes a convincing herald of mercy, a mercy that knows no bounds and extends to everyone without exception.
While some people try to argue that mercy, even Gods mercy, is limited by the demands of justice, Pope Francis said mercy and justice are two dimensions of a single reality that unfolds progressively until it culminates in the fullness of love.
Preaching mercy, he said, is not the same as ignoring sin or withholding correction. Instead, mercy invites repentance and conversion and ensures the sinner that once God forgives a sin, he forgets it.
The Pope addressed direct appeals in the document to members of the mafia and other criminal organisations as well as to officials and others involved in corruption. For their own good, I beg them to change their lives, he wrote. I ask them this in the name of the Son of God who, though rejecting sin, never rejected the sinner.
Violence inflicted for the sake of amassing riches soaked in blood makes one neither powerful nor immortal, he continued. Everyone, sooner or later, will be subject to Gods judgment, from which no one can escape.
At the same time, Pope Francis wrote, many of those who insist first on Gods justice are like the Pharisees who thought they could save themselves by following the letter of the law, but ended up simply placing burdens on the shoulders of others and undermined the Fathers mercy.
Gods justice is his mercy, the Pope said. Mercy is not opposed to justice, but rather expresses Gods way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert and believe.
Recognising that they have been treated with mercy by God, he said, Christians are obliged to treat others with mercy. In fact, the Gospel says that Christians will be judged by the mercy they show others.
At times how hard it seems to forgive, he said. And yet pardon is the instrument placed into our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart. To let go of anger, wrath, violence and revenge are necessary conditions to living joyfully.
Pope Francis also noted that Gods mercy is an important theme in Judaism and Islam, and he urged efforts during the Year of Mercy to increase inter-religious dialogue and mutual understanding with followers of both faiths.
You can read the full text of Misericordiae Vultus, the bull of indiction of the extraordinary jubilee of mercy, here
It’s yet another attack on the necessity of the papacy.
Don’t know if I believe it, though; we’re talking about serious sins here.
It’s in Paragraph 18 from the link http://m.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco_bolla_20150411_misericordiae-vultus.html
“18. During Lent of this Holy Year, I intend to send out Missionaries of Mercy. They will be a sign of the Churchs maternal solicitude for the People of God, enabling them to enter the profound richness of this mystery so fundamental to the faith. There will be priests to whom I will grant the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See, so that the breadth of their mandate as confessors will be even clearer. “
I don’t see the problem. It’s just during Lent next year only and more importantly they are sent by the Pope himself. Otherwise they wouldn’t have such authority.
I guess the question is: does the Pope have the power to appoint such priests or not? If someone claims “no”, and can prove it, we might have a problem.
If he does have such an ability, to appoint priests to absolve such sins, then I don’t see what the big whoop is.
18. During Lent of this Holy Year, I intend to send out Missionaries of Mercy. They will be a sign of the Churchs maternal solicitude for the People of God, enabling them to enter the profound richness of this mystery so fundamental to the faith. There will be priests to whom I will grant the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See, so that the breadth of their mandate as confessors will be even clearer. They will be, above all, living signs of the Fathers readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon. They will be missionaries of mercy because they will be facilitators of a truly human encounter, a source of liberation, rich with responsibility for overcoming obstacles and taking up the new life of Baptism again. They will be led in their mission by the words of the Apostle: For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all (Rom 11:32). Everyone, in fact, without exception, is called to embrace the call to mercy. May these Missionaries live this call with the assurance that they can fix their eyes on Jesus, the merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God (Heb 2:17).
Even if it is “allowed” that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or that it could be the beginning of a slippery slope. Has any other pope done this before in the history of the Church? I’m not aware of any.
And who’s to decide if it’s a “good idea” or not? A couple of Internet theologians or the Pope himself?
Funny, as a Catholic I think the latter is more qualified to make that judgement.
Yes, and, once a upon a time, communion in the paw was once reserved to the heretic bishops in Holland only. No other countries were to practice it.
Are you talking about the same pope who brokers deals for Obama with Communists? The same Pope who is going to write an encyclical on the global warming hoax?
Francis is doing a lot of “firsts”. He thinks he’s a trendsetter and the secular world loves him for it.
Seems to be once again parroting Cardinal Kasper.
We have a new world order pope.
Nor in the Maronite Church where only the priest and deacon distribute the Eucharist ... and it is by intinction, and on the tongue. Today, a RC family presented their child for Baptism (during the reign of RC Bishop Hubbard, 5 of the 6 local RC parishes were closed). Normally in the Maronite Church, Baptism and Chrismation (Confirmation) are administered at the same time. The family opted for strictly a Baptism. The Maronite Church has retained the Rite of Exorcism as part of the Baptism. This has been dropped in the Latin Church.
There are certain sings that are so severe that they would require the Bishop of the Diocese to approve absolution. These were called, “reserved sins” In some of the cases Pope Francis mentioned, the ability of the priest to exercise his vocation may be compromised and require a higher authority. This new apostolate would be able to exercise that authority.
I'm only capable of English, with some Italian phrases I learned while growing up, and admire a person's capability to speak fluently in more than one language.
Paying attention to what is being said is more important.
To this day, I can’t bring myself to receive in the hand.
You didn’t answer my question. Has any other pope done anything like this in THE HISTORY of the Church? As far as I know, never. Why do you think that is? And why, if it’s never been done before, does this pope think it’s such a good idea?
And once upon a time non-Catholics couldn’t receive communion. Now they can.
But I guess that pope was qualified to make that judgment too.
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