Pope Francis ends Year of Mercy with Apostolic Letter

From a report issued by Vatican Radio

Although the Extraordinary Jubilee Year has concluded, we are still living in a “time of mercy,” reports Vatican Radio.

Pope Francis, Year of Mercy, Roman Catholic Church, Sisters of Providence-Mother Joseph Province

That was the message of Pope Francis in a lengthy Apostolic Letter, entitled Misericordia et misera (“Mercy and Misery”), issued today (Nov. 12, 2016) following the close of the Year of Mercy.

Read Misericordia et misera in its entirety.

Pope Francis proposed a number of ideas to continue the celebration of mercy, including an annual day dedicated to making the Scriptures better known and more widely diffused. He also called on the faithful to restore the Sacrament of Reconciliation to a “central place in Christian life.”

The Holy Father also extended a number of initiatives already begun in the Holy Year, asking the Missionaries of Mercy to continue their ministry, and extending indefinitely the faculties of priests of the Society of St Pius X to hear confessions and grant absolution.

Pope Francis also extended the faculties of all priests to absolve the sin of procured abortion.

“I want to insist as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin,” the Pope said, “because it puts an end to an innocent life.”

But, he continued, “I can and I must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”

Though the Jubilee is closed, Pope Francis said, “the door of mercy of our heart continues to remain wide open.” He called on the faithful to continue to practice new works of mercy, and to find new ways to give expression to the traditional works. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy, he said, “continue in our own day to be proof of mercy’s immense positive influence as a social value.”

In this vein, the Pope said the Church must continue to be vigilant and offer solidarity in the face of attacks on human dignity.

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