Pope Francis bowed in front of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica to officially convene the next Jubilee. During the Holy Year, the door symbolically becomes a “Door of Mercy,” and millions of pilgrims will cross through it. “May grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Savior be with you all.”
To convene the Jubilee, the Pope delivered a so-called bull. It is entitled “Misericordie Vultus,” or “The Face of Mercy.” The text includes 25 points that the Pope believes are important for the upcoming year. God forgives with tenderness and compassion, the Pope said. However, Christians should also be forgiving to be credible. And so the motto of the Jubilee will be “Merciful like the Father.”
“The time has come for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more. It is time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters. Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope.”
The Jubilee will begin on December 8th and ends on November 20, 2016. Specific points include:
- It invites Catholics to rediscover works of mercy.
- It suggests that the Sacrament of Confession will be paramount.
- The Pope will appoint priests in every diocese to be “convincing preachers of mercy,” and they will forgive particularly grave sins without having to ask permission from the Vatican. For example, they will have the authority to pardon sacrilege against the Eucharist.
- Gang members will be asked to convert.
- It proposes dialogue with Jews and Muslims to avoid contempt or discrimination.
The Pope explained that the Jubilee is an opportunity for every person and not simply an institutional event. “Why a Jubilee of Mercy today? Simply because the Church, in this time of great historical change, is called to offer more evident signs of God’s presence and closeness. This is not the time to be distracted.”
The Jubilee of Mercy will be celebrated in every diocese in the world so that people who are unable to visit Rome can still participate.