by Thomas Reese, S.J., NCR
From the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis’ homilies and speeches have emphasized “mercy” as a common theme. As a result, it was no surprise when he declared that the church would celebrate a holy year of mercy this year.
The year of mercy is directed at three audiences: individuals in the church, clergy, and the world.
Every person’s experience of God’s mercy is unique and personal.
When Francis was asked in the famous 2013 interview, “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” he replied: “I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”
He went on to acknowledge that he is “a bit astute,” adaptable, and “a bit naïve,” but “the best summary, the one that comes more from the inside and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.” And, he said, “I always felt my motto, Miserando atque Eligendo [by having mercy and by choosing Him], was very true for me.”…