Pope Francis has declared an Extraordinary Jubileee of Mercy. This Holy Year of Mercy will begin December 8, 2015, the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. It will close November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King. This year’s motto is “Merciful Like the Father.”
To convene the Jubileee, 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 Jubileee 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 Jubileee 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 Jubileee is an opportunity for every person and not simply an institutional event. “Why a Jubileee 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 Jubileee of Mercy will be celebrated in every diocese in the world so that people who are unable to visit Rome can still participate.