This post first appeared in National Catholic Reporter, under the byline of Joshua J. McElwee, on 10 January 2016. It was titled “Francis pushes for a Church big on mercy, tough on law.”
The book contains Francis’ understanding of mercy and forgiveness and what these things mean to him personally and to the Church.
“We must go back to the Gospel,” he says.
“We need to enter the darkness, the night in which so many of our brothers live. We need to be able to make contact with them and let them feel our closeness (and God’s mercy), without letting ourselves be wrapped up in that darkness and influenced by it.”
Francis talks about those who tie up heavy burdens and lay them on other men’s shoulders, but who are unwilling to move so much as a finger. These hypocrites love the place of honor and want to be called master, he adds.
“This conduct comes when a person loses the sense of awe for salvation that has been granted to him or her.”