The Catholic News Agency has reported that Pope Francis started this “Jubilee of Mercy” year by decreeing that all who enter through the door at St. Peter’s Basilica can be given a “remission of punishment of sins…through the action of the church, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints” (source).
Although Catholic news sources are reporting the indulgence can be granted by walking through the door, there is some fine print. You must also go to confession, receive communion, and walk through the door all in the same day. Finally, you must offer a prayer for the Pope, along with a Hail Mary (source). But hey, a few hoops and walking through a door is worth forgiveness. Right?
Because the jubilee year coincides with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (named so for Mary’s immaculate conception), Francis used the opportunity to preach a homily on Mary…
“Not only does [Christ] forgive sin, but in Mary he even averts the original sin present in every man and woman who comes into this world. May the Blessed Virgin, the first fruits of the saved, the model of the Church, holy and immaculate Bride, loved by the Lord, help us to rediscover the mercy of God more and more, in a way characteristic of Christians…In the Immaculate conception of Mary, we are invited to recognize the dawn of the new world, transformed from the saving work of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.“
Ironically, the Protestant Reformation began almost 500 years ago because Martin Luther was incensed that the Catholic Church was using St. Peter’s Basilica to offer forgiveness. Luther heard Tetzel – who had been commissioned by the Pope – raising money for the basilica’s construction with the catchy jingle, “When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs” (source link) and got all Protestanty.
Five-hundred years later, and the Pope of Rome is still using St. Peter’s Basilica to hand out forgiveness. And people are still lining up.
Please pray for your Roman Catholic friends and loved ones, that they might find the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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