A clarifying statement has been issued by the press office of the Archdiocese of Bombay on Tuesday 19 January, regarding the WhatsApp messages being circulated giving people wrong and false impressions with regards to the Holy Door of Mercy.
The statement said that the message “gives the impression that merely walking through the Doors of Mercy will result in the forgiveness of sins.”
The statement reads:
“These doors are not magical doors and we need to understand that to experience and obtain the Indulgence, the faithful are called, as pilgrims, to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy, make a profession of faith, and pray for the Holy Father and for his intentions for the good of the Church and of the entire world.”
“It must be understood that walking through the Door of Mercy indicates the desire for the forgiveness of sins, and walking through it symbolizes a leaving behind of the past and entering into a new life through Christ, who is the door.”
It also added that, “Walking through the Holy Doors is not a substitute for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
According to CNA, a source in the Bombay archdiocese had recounted to them that the confusing WhatsApp message circulated was as a result of an article about the opening of the local Holy Doors which appeared in a local daily newspaper.
Local parishes in Mumbai hosted catechetical seminars to help the faithful get involved actively in the Holy Year of Mercy. The catechesis emphasized that simply passing through the Holy Doors does not mean you’re relieved of moral obligations participating in the sacraments because they provide spiritual nourishment through the sacraments of the church.
Pope Francis officially inaugurated the Holy Year of Mercy on Dec. 8, 2015, and it will close Nov. 20, on the feast of Christ the King.
By passing through the holy doors the faithful can earn indulgences after fulfilling the usual conditions of prayer for the Pope’s intentions.
The following usual conditions must be met in order to obtain a plenary indulgence:
1 Being truly repentant and receiving sacramental absolution in the Sacrament of Penance
2 Reception of Holy Communion
3 Praying for the Holy Father’s intentions through the recitation of one Our Father and one Hail Mary, or through the recitation of another appropriate prayer for the Pope’s intentions
4 Total detachment from any inclination to sin, even venial sins.
The first three actions may be fulfilled within 20 days before or after the indulgence opportunity. However, it is most appropriate if they are all done on the same day as the prescribed work.
Only one plenary indulgence can be obtained each day. A single sacramental confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but separately receiving Communion and praying for the intention of the Holy Father are required for each indulgence.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay opened the Doors of Mercy at Mumbai’s Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount on Dec. 20, 2015. He reminded the faithful: “This is the Lord’s Gate: let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness.” The doors were then opened, using the Bible as the key, with the following invocation, “Open the Gates of Justice; we shall enter and give thanks.”
The Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias presided over the ceremony of the opening of the Door of Mercy at Mumbai’s Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount on Dec. 20, 2015. In his homily at the Mass,urging the faithful to be agents of God’s mercy he said:
“No one should say that it is difficult to reach God and difficult to obtain mercy, for the Church is indeed the vehicle of mercy,” Cardinal Gracias said. “We are the Church and it becomes our Christian duty to spread the message of God’s mercy and reconciliation.”