Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal Vincent Explains the Year of Mercy

On 13 December, on the same day that he opened the Holy Door of the cathedral, Cardinal Vincent was interviewed on Sunday on BBC Radio 4 about the Year of Mercy.

In the interview he explained that ‘Pope Francis from his very first words has wanted to draw our attention to that depth of God’s love for us that becomes his mercy for us when he sees us make a mess of things’. Consequently, the Holy Father has launched this Year of Mercy and has made its focus the Door of Mercy ‘which is an expression of our desire to understand the mercy of God so that we can express it towards each other’.

This Year of Mercy is ‘aimed at anyone who feels in their heart a desire to be deeply and lovingly accepted as they are and yet challenged and enticed to bring the best out of themselves’, the Cardinal went on to explain.

He also repeated the Pope’s words from the opening of the Holy Door of St Peter’s when he said that ‘nobody should live with fear in their heart when there is this profound acceptance of God is available to them’. Instead, they should ‘come and receive’.

Questioned about the motivation behind this Year of Mercy, the Cardinal explained that there is a feeling that ‘our society is lacking in the quality of mercy’ and that this Year of Mercy ‘a challenge to our humanity, rooted obviously in our faith’.

The Cardinal went on to say that it is ‘certainly a very valid and proper point’ to say that the Year of Mercy is set within the context of the recent Synod on the Family ‘because it is often  within those closest relationships in our lives that we get entangled and mixed up, and we make mistakes and we want to start again. That is very much the pattern of the unfolding of God’s mercy.’

He emphasised that ‘we have to understand that God’s mercy is the unfolding of his justice, not the replacing of his justice, so we have to hold those two together’.

He expressed his ‘hope that this Year of Mercy will give many people a chance to come and talk over in depth the situation they’re in’.

Speaking about the influence of Pope Francis’ pontificate, he explained that ‘what Pope Francis has in abundance is the ability to convey the invitation of God and the passion of God in a way that people understand and that touches them, whether they have entered into the whole life of the Church and its thinking. He just gets across to people what is most important in this life. There’s no doubt that searching for a chance to start again, searching for a healing that comes with an acknowledgement of failure, that desire to start again is something he conveys immensely powerfully. In this he is a wonderful gift to the world.’

To listen to the broadcast of the programme, please follow this link.

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