Highlights from Misericordiae Vultus

More details are starting to emerge about the Jubilee of Mercy that Pope Francis recently announced.

This past week, Pope Francis issued the Bull of Indiction which marks the official convocation of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The bull is composed of 25 sections and seeks to root mercy in the concrete experience of looking into the light of Christ’s face.

In the bull Pope Francis’ pastoral sensibilities are on clear display. But perhaps the most interesting section of the bull is no. 4. Pope Francis in no. 4 makes it clear that this Jubilee of Mercy is intimately tied to the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council:

The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive. With the Council, the Church entered a new phase of her history. The Council Fathers strongly perceived, as a true breath of the Holy Spirit, a need to talk about God to men and women of their time in a more accessible way. 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. (No. 4)

Pope Francis also developed a strong relationship between mercy and pastoral care in the bull. A turn to social justice concerns can be seen in no. 15 which calls for works of mercy to “reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy” (No. 15).

In no. 19 Pope Francis also denounces organized violence and corruption:

This is the opportune moment to change our lives! This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched! When confronted with evil deeds, even in the face of serious crimes, it is the time to listen to the cry of innocent people who are deprived of their property, their dignity, their feelings, and even their very lives. To stick to the way of evil will only leave one deluded and sad. True life is something entirely different. God never tires of reaching out to us. He is always ready to listen, as I am too, along with my brother bishops and priests. All one needs to do is to accept the invitation to conversion and submit oneself to justice during this special time of mercy offered by the Church. (No. 19)

The bull even includes a section on the Church’s relationship to other religions in this special year of jubilee. Judaism and Islam are noted in particular. It is Pope Francis’ hope that this year will be a chance for dialogue with other religions:

I trust that this Jubilee year celebrating the mercy of God will foster an encounter with these religions and with other noble religious traditions; may it open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; may it eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination. (No. 23)

Finally, in the bull Pope Francis announced that the Holy Door will be opened by the Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica on December 8th, and on December 13th in all the churches around the world.

The full text of Pope Francis’ Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy can be found at Vatican.va.

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3 comments

  1. I have Kasper’s book on my reading list to finish– began it last year and dropped off somewhere after p. 100. I am also going to be looking for stories of mercy and compassion — newspapers, novelks, drama, poetry, magazines, online stories that can be verified, etc — to use for homilies.

  2. Les Miz for adults and teens as many have seen the show or the movie. Veggietales Jonah can be good for families with young children. Preview it and prepare to talk about mercy and compassion. Even Jonah, who preached the call to conversion, doesn’t get it.

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