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Opening the Holy Year, Francis says mercy always trumps judgment


ROME — Pope Francis opened his Jubilee of Mercy on Tuesday, saying that this year will be one in which Catholics are called to grow ever more convinced of God’s mercy, which should always come before judgment.

“How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy,” he said as he celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s Square that marked the opening of the jubilee.

“We have to put mercy before judgment,” he added.

After Mass, Francis opened the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica.

At the invitation of Francis, a noticeably frail Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI was present during the ceremony. He arrived in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica 20 minutes before the end of the Mass, where he waited for his successor, who gave him a hug before heading toward the door.

The Holy Door is traditionally bricked up until it’s opened to mark the beginning of a jubilee year. This was the first time in history that two popes were present for the ceremony.

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