Pope Francis has launched his yearlong push for a global Catholic church of mercy and forgiveness, starting the Jubilee year focused on the subject by opening the holy door at St. Peter’s Basilica and calling for a church that always puts mercy before judgment....
"...This Extraordinary Holy Year is itself a gift of grace," Francis said during the homily at the Mass. "To enter through the Holy Door means to rediscover the deepness of the mercy of the Father who welcomes all and goes out to meet everyone personally."..
"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.
While most Jubilees have been focused on calling pilgrims to Rome to receive such pardon, Francis has widely expanded his Jubilee, asking that dioceses throughout the world open their own holy door at a cathedral or other church to expand the practice globally.
A holy door is a door normally designated in special churches -- like the four papal basilicas in Rome -- to be opened only during Jubilee years as a sign of the possibility of re-entering into God’s grace.
Francis opened the holy door in St. Peter's Basilica towards the end of the Mass Tuesday. Standing in front of the door, located at the northeast corner of the Vatican basilica, the pontiff asked God to grant "a year of grace, a favorable time to love you and our brothers and sisters in the joy of the Gospel."
Both Francis’ homily at the Mass and the ceremony itself also paid tribute to the Second Vatican Council, which officially closed its work on Dec. 8, 1965.
",,,In the first place, however, the Council was an encounter," said the pontiff. "A true encounter between the Church and the men and women of our time..."
...Francis has also said he will be making a special sign of mercy one Friday of the month each month during the Jubilee. The first will come Dec. 18, when he is to open a door at a Caritas center in Rome that provides shelter and food for those in need.
The holy year will get a special push Feb. 10, Ash Wednesday next year, when the pontiff will commission some 800 priests from around the world to serve as "Missionaries of Mercy," giving them a special mandate to go among dioceses and forgive even canonical penalties normally reserved to the Holy See.,,
..The closing of the Mass Tuesday emphasized that while the Jubilee year is oriented towards evincing God's immeasurable mercy towards us, it also is meant as a forceful push to show Catholics around the world to be merciful to one another -- and to everyone else.".