7 keys to understanding the Apostolic Letter "Misericordia et Misera"

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
21 Nov 2016

An apostolic letter is a document of papal magisterium, less solemn than an encyclical, but of great importance. John Paul II published one after closing the Jubilee year in 2000.

In the letter, the pope combines the greatest lines of the Jubilee and explanations so that these intense months are not reduced to a mere "theory of mercy."

The title translates to "Mercy and Misery." St. Augustine used this expression to remember the scene of the Gospel in which they wanted to stone an adulterous woman and Jesus forgives her.

The main point is to do everything possible to make it easier for people to go to confession. There are many transformations. One for example, is it will be easier to find priests available to hear confessions, because the sacrament should not only be a novelty.

It proposes that each Catholic community dedicate one Sunday a year to "renew its efforts to make the Sacred Scriptures better known and more widely diffused."

He also instituted a "World Day of the Poor," to be held in all churches on the last Sunday before the feast of Christ the King.

From now on all priests will be able to absolve the sin of abortion from those who confess it, both from the doctors performing it and the parents of the child. Previously, only bishops could absolve people from this sin.

Pope Francis is maintaining the force of the "Missionaries of Mercy," a thousand priests from all over the world who can absolve these five sins reserved only to the Vatican:
The violation of the secret of confession
The ordination of bishops without the approval of the pope
The complicity of priests who propose sexual relations to another person and then confess of that sin
Desecration of the Eucharist
Violence against the pope

Pope Francis returns to the main idea contained in the document "Amoris Laetitia," and asks the Church to "regard all human problems from the standpoint of God's love, which never tires of welcoming and accompanying."

Pope Francis reminds priests how they should care for those who want to return to the life of faith, but are divorced and have remarried or live a delicate personal situation. It is a matter of exercising "a careful, profound and far-sighted spiritual discernment, so that everyone, none excluded, can feel accepted by God, participate actively in the life of the community and be part of that People of God which journeys tirelessly towards the fullness of his kingdom of justice, love, forgiveness and mercy."

The pope shows that in addition to receiving mercy, it must be given. That means not being indifferent to the sufferings of people.

He calls on Catholics to work to "restore dignity to people." Especially those who do not have work, do not have a house, are marginalized, are hungry, have to migrate, are in prison in inhuman conditions or do not have access to education.