Wednesday, 9 December 2015

porta sancta

Recognising what the world needs now, Pope Francis threw open the Mercy Gate of the Lateran Archbasilica (the Pope’s church as the Bishop of Rome) and declared an extraordinary Jubilee Year—a decade earlier than the next scheduled time of forgiveness and reconciliation, which are announced periodically at quarter- or half-century intervals.
Ordering the door to be unbricked (sealed in earnest outside of these periods), the Pope promises that this message of grace will counter the violence and fanaticism in the world—and in people’s hearts. Quite a few basilica-major around the world, including Saint Peter’s in the Vatican and Santiago de Compostela in Spain, have their own Holy Doors and their own tradition and millions of pilgrims are expected to pass through these thresholds over the next year. The Papal Bull—Misericordiæ Vultus—allows for bishops everywhere to declare his own Mercy Gate for this Year of Jubilee. After the ceremony and reflection, the façade of San Giovanni in Laterano became the canvas to promote mindfulness of another urgent threat to peace, environmental degradation, with a light-show of projected images of the natural world.  His Holiness is primed to act on Mother Nature’s behalf as well.