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NCR: Proclaiming jubilee, Francis envisions non-judging, non-condemning church

Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, skriver bl.a.:

VATICAN CITY Officially proclaiming the upcoming jubilee year of mercy, Pope Francis has powerfully called on the entire Catholic church to refashion itself as a place not of judgment or condemnation but of pardon and merciful love.
Writing in an extensive document convoking the year, which will begin Dec. 8, the pontiff states that the church’s "very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love."

"Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy," writes Francis in the document, released Saturday evening with the Latin title Misericordiae Vultus ("The Face of Mercy").

"The temptation ... to focus exclusively on justice made us forget that this is only the first, albeit necessary and indispensable step," the pope continues.

"The time has come for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more," he states.

"It is time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters," writes the pontiff. "Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope."

Francis also notes that Dec. 8 will mark the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council and says: "The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive."

Francis' document, released Saturday during a prayer service at St. Peter's Basilica for the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, officially proclaims the extraordinary jubilee year the pontiff first announced last month.

The jubilee, which is to be called the Holy Year of Mercy, will begin on this year's Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception. It will close on Nov. 20, 2016, the day celebrated that year as the feast of Christ the King.

Explaining his reasons for calling the mercy jubilee with the some 9,500-word document Saturday, the pontiff firmly identifies mercy as the central function of the church and the key aspect of Jesus' ministry and work.

Exhaustively citing from the teachings of previous popes and stories from the Old and New Testaments, Francis also says mercy is a key attribute of God's actions towards human beings and that our own exercise of pardon will determine how we will eventually be judged.

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