Home » World »  Holy Year is a reminder to put mercy before judgment, pope says

Holy Year is a reminder to put mercy before judgment, pope says


  • Pope Francis opens the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica to inaugurate the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Vatican Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • A woman kisses the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica after Pope Francis opened it to mark the inauguration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Vatican Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis greets retired Pope Benedict XVI prior to the opening of the Holy Door of Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 8. Pope Francis opened the Holy Door to inaugurate the Jubilee Year of Mercy. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA)
  • Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica to inaugurate the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Vatican Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA)
  • Pope Francis holds the Book of the Gospels as he celebrates the opening Mass of the Holy Year of Mercy in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • People attend Pope Francis' celebration of the opening Mass of the Holy Year of Mercy in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 8. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On a cloudy, damp morning, Pope Francis' voice echoed in the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica: "Open the gates of justice." With five strong thrusts, the pope pushed open the Holy Door, a symbol of God's justice, which he said will always be exercised "in the light of his mercy."

The rite of the opening of the Holy Door was preceded by a Mass with 70,000 pilgrims packed in St. Peter's Square Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the beginning of the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.

As the sun broke through the clouds, heralding the start of the jubilee year, the pope bowed his head and remained still for several minutes in silent prayer.

Amid a crowd of dignitaries and pilgrims, a familiar face was also present at the historic event: retired Pope Benedict XVI, who followed Pope Francis through the Holy Door into St. Peter's Basilica.

During his homily, Pope Francis emphasized the "simple, yet highly symbolic" act of opening the Holy Door, which "highlights the primacy of grace;" the same grace that made Mary "worthy of becoming the mother of Christ."

"The fullness of grace can transform the human heart and enable it to do something so great as to change the course of human history," he said.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, he continued, serves as a reminder of the grandeur of God's love in allowing Mary to "avert the original sin present in every man and woman who comes into this world."

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article

Submit a Letter to the Editor