At the half way point of the Ordinary Synod on the Family, Cardinal Vincent has given an update from Rome about the progress and themes being discussed at the synod.
He explained the important discussion of mercy that has been taking place at the synod, and the understanding, as put by Pope Francis, that mercy is ‘love’s second name’. The mercy of God is the shape God’s love takes for us. He spoke about the inseparability of justice and mercy. Without mercy, we are not at peace with purely justice. ‘Mercy is the unfolding of justice which gives us peace even after we’ve been forgiven.’
Expanding on this idea, Cardinal Vincent explained how the synod is struggling with the idea of the Church as a teacher and a mother. As a mother is must learn how to apply the teaching with prudence and wisdom so that it doesn’t become a burden or an oppression, but so that it becomes a way of tutoring us so that we live better lives.
Reflecting on his own formation for priesthood, Cardinal Vincent explained that he had not studied God’s mercy, at least not in depth, and felt that Pope Francis is leading the Church into, theologically, fresh ground. It was discussed in his small group that ‘the first action of mercy is to listen’. It must listen to people’s lives, their struggles, pain, hopes and joys. Although he said that what this will mean in practice is still being worked out.
The full interview is available to listen here: