Magazine article The Christian Century

Pope Francis Launches Jubilee Year of Mercy

Magazine article The Christian Century

Pope Francis Launches Jubilee Year of Mercy

Article excerpt

Pope Francis launched the Jubilee Year of Mercy with the opening of the Vatican Holy Door near the end of a mass in St. Peter's Square, where he was joined by his predecessor pope emeritus Benedict XVI and thousands of pilgrims.

"This extraordinary year is itself a gift of grace," Francis told the faithful in his homily at mass December 8. "To pass through the holy door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.

"How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy.... We have to put mercy before judgment."

After addressing the crowds, Francis embraced a frail-looking Benedict, who resigned from the papacy in 2013 and who was invited by his successor to attend the jubilee ceremony.

After opening the Holy Door into the grand basilica, Francis walked slowly through St. Peter's, followed by Benedict and a procession of cardinals, bishops, priests, men and women religious, and laity.

In doing so, they marked the start of a pilgrimage that is expected to see millions pass through the Holy Door, which is opened only during jubilee years. …

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