VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis formally presented his official proclamation of the 2015-
2016 extraordinary jubilee, or Holy Year of Mercy, on April 11.
The proclamation, called a “bull of indiction,” is titled Misericordiae Vultus (The Face
of Mercy) and explains how in Jesus Christ, in his words and actions, the mercy of God has
Pope Francis said in the document that he wants the year, which will begin on December
8, to be a time for Catholics to contemplate how merciful God has been to them and to understand better how they are called to be merciful to others in turn.
Mercy, the Pope wrote, is “the beating heart of the Gospel”.
Nothing in the Church’s preaching or witness, Pope Francis said, can be lacking in mercy.
Pope Francis asked that every diocese in the world designate a “Door of Mercy” at their cathedral or another special church or shrine, and that every diocese implement the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative on the Friday and Saturday before the fourth week of Lent.
The Pope said he will designate and send out “Missionaries of Mercy” to preach about mercy. They will be given special authority, he said, “to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See”. Under Church law, those sins involve: a man who directly participated in an abortion and later wants to enter the priesthood; priests who have broken the seal of confession; priests who have offered sacramental absolution to their own sexual partners; desecrating the Eucharist; and making an attempt on the life of the pope. Usually, the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court, handles those cases.
The Pope urged all Catholics to spend more time practising the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
The corporal works are: Feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, giving drink to the thirsty and burying the dead. The spiritual works are: Converting sinners, instructing the ignorant, advising the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving injuries and praying for the living and dead.