Jubilee: a permanent mercy

A fulminating consideration coming from proverbial wisdom comes to mind when it is stated that a door opens when a door is closed; He said a c h and says a lot about the historical transition that catholicity led by Argentine Pope is going through. The door we are talking about is the “open” gap of forgiveness left open to the faithful by the pontiff, who on the one hand concludes by ritus et preces the jubilee events on the other does not give up on a clear point of his pontificate, that is, a church rooted in the essentiality of the gospel and capable of looking at those who are spiritually and materially wounded.

A simple letter, usable and light (little or more than seven thousand words) but such levity – Italo Calvino would say in the first of his American lessons – should not be misleading because we are talking about a thoughtful lightness, capable of breaking with the heaviness of ecclesial rigor and offer intelligent pastoral openings of strong impact on which there will be no lack of internal controversy among ecclesiastics and theologians. Faced with criticism of the fundamentalist wing , which resulted in the letter signed weeks ago by the four cardinals led by Leo Burke, Pope Bergoglio relaunches his own line without hesitation. And it marks in no uncertain terms that “Nothing that a repentant sinner puts before the mercy of God can remain without the embrace of his forgiveness” and makes it clear that “it is for this reason that none of us can set conditions” to divine clemency.

If reconciliation does not cease with the “privileged” time of the Jubilee then new dispositions are necessary and the Pope puts it down in black and white : “henceforth, before all the priests, by virtue of their ministry, the faculty to discharge those who have procured sin of abortion “thus extending over time” in spite of anything contrary “to what was granted for jubilee time. “I would like to reiterate with all my strength – he adds – that abortion is a serious sin, because it puts an end to an innocent life. With as much strength, however, I can and must say that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and destroy when it finds a repentant heart that asks to be reconciled with the Father ยป.

That of the Pope – many readers and analysts write – is a hand aimed at caressing human frailties which does not mean devising a “theory of forgiveness” aimed at nullifying the ethical responsibilities of each person . And yet – in accordance with the Gospel – we seek those who have made a mistake to bring them into the precincts of the ecclesial community. It is therefore a pastoral inclusiveness never seen in the previous pontificates and we are witnessing a sensitivity for those who very often are so crushed by feelings of guilt that they do not even ask for reconciliation.

Pope Francis predicts prophetically how much misery and mercy are metaphor of the encounter between good and evil, in which in the end the one who does not judge but forgives wins, mercy over the misery of men and women has the better. In this unequal struggle between an evil that is fulfilled and a forgiveness that is offered, everyone is involved, first and foremost the same Pope who repeatedly stressed that he personally experienced this asymmetry of goodness with respect to the most tragic of sins. To many this imbalance in the categories of judgment seems reluctant, extreme; but for the Pope who looks to those who wait outside the churches this re-integration is the absolute priority of Catholicism. For him the Jubilee is only a stage in a journey of reform of the church and an ethical message to the whole world.

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