Magisterial Documents: Misericordiae Vultus

Francis, Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
April 11, 2015, Vigil of The Sunday Of Divine Mercy
The full document is available on the internet.

Brief Introduction

Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), is Pope Francis’ bull of indiction (formal announcement or proclamation) of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The Year of Mercy was the 27th Holy Year in history, following the ordinary 2000 Jubilee Year.  Opened on December 8, 2015, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, and concluded on November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Mercy was an extraordinary Jubilee because ordinary jubilees are usually celebrated every 25 years.

Like ordinary jubilee years, the Year of Mercy offered remission of sins and universal pardon focusing particularly on God's forgiveness and mercy.  Francis wished for the Jubilee to be celebrated not only in Rome but all around the world; for the first time in church history, holy doors were open in designated churches in every diocese. The first holy door was opened by Pope Francis in Bangui on 29 November 2015, during his pilgrimage to East Africa. 

The bull of 25 articles develops three main themes.

First, Pope Francis elaborates the theological understanding of God’s mercy, explaining the role of mercy in the life of people and of the Church, who are both the beneficiaries and the witnesses to God’s mercy in the world. In this context, he situates the motto of the Holy Year: “Merciful like the Father” (14). The pope notes that both Judaism and Islam “consider mercy to be one of God’s most important attributes.” And he expresses “trust that this Jubilee… will foster an encounter” with these and other religions that will “open us to even more fervent dialogue” toward greater knowledge and understanding, “eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect and drive out every form of violence and discrimination” (23).

As a second theme, the Pope offers practical ways to take advantage of the graces available during the Holy Year. He also addresses confessors, encouraging them to be “authentic signs of the Father’s mercy” (14-18).

As a third theme, the Pope issues calls for justice and conversion. He asks members of criminal organizations and those involved in corruption to change their lives and to embrace God’s mercy (19-21).

The pope concludes the bull with an invocation to Mary, witness to God’s mercy and recalls the Polish St Faustina Kowalska who dedicated her life to making God’s mercy known.


© This material has been compiled by Danielle M. Peters, S.T.D.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.
Most recently updated in 2018.

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