Addressing the thousands of pilgrims gathered during his weekly general audience at St. Peter’s square, Pope Francis centered his speech on the upcoming Year of Mercy, urging the Church not only to keep its doors open, but to go out to those who may not have the strength to enter.
“If the door of God’s mercy is always open”, we must leave the doors of our institutions open so that “we can go out carrying God’s mercy”.He said.
This great door is that of God’s mercy, which welcomes our repentance and offers us the grace of forgiveness; a door which is opened generously but whose threshold must be crossed with courage.He continued.
The Pope dedicated his catechesis to the symbol of the Holy Door, which he described as the “great door of God’s mercy” – will be opened on December 8 at St Peter’s Basilica to mark the official start of the Jubilee of Mercy.
The recent family synod was an occasion to encourage the Church and all Catholics to meet God at this open door and to open their own doors to others – “to go out with the Lord” to encounter his children who are journeying, who are perhaps uncertain, perhaps lost, “in these difficult times”, he said.
“We must not surrender to the idea that we must apply this way of thinking to every aspect of our lives”, the Pope added. How many people no longer trust…to knock on the door of our Christian heart, at the doors of our Churches….
Despite security fears after the Paris attacks, Pope Francis says the doors of Catholic churches around the world must remain open.
“Please, no armored doors in the Church, everything open,” he said
“There are places in the world where doors should not be locked with a key. There are still some but there are also many where armored doors have become the norm.”
While the Pope’s comments do not explicitly refer to the Paris attacks, AFP has reported that security measures have been stepped up in Italy where 700 extra troops have been deployed in Rome. AFP also confirmed that the city’s airspace will be closed during the upcoming Catholic Jubilee Year, so as to check any attack on Rome.
“We are all sinners. May we take advantage of this moment and cross the threshold of this mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.” The Pope added.