Antonio Anup Gonsalves, writing for the Catholic News Agency, reports that:
"The Archdiocese of Bombay issued a clarification last week after WhatsApp users in Maharashtra were circulating a 'misleading' message which promoted a superstitious understanding of the Year of Mercy.
The archdiocese's Jan. 19 statement noted that the text 'gives the impression that merely walking through the Doors of Mercy will result in the forgiveness of sins.'
'These doors are not magical doors and we need to understand that to experience and obtain the indulgence, the faithful are called, as pilgrims, to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy, make a profession of faith, and pray for the Holy Father and for his intentions for the good of the Church and of the entire world.'
The archdiocese's noted added, 'It must be understood that walking through the Door of Mercy indicates the desire for the forgiveness of sins, and walking through it symbolises a leaving behind of the past and entering into a new life through Christ, who is the door.'
'Please note that walking through the Holy Doors is not a substitute for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.'"
Pope Francis himself speaks much about Jesus's mercy but seems to have nothing to say about His justice. What is this but a distortion of the Gospels?
Our Lord is so rich in mercy that He told Saint Faustina, "Let the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy. My daughter, write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy.." (Divine Mercy in My Soul, Notebook III, 1146). This is one of the reasons I began this Blog. To promote the whole idea of reconciliation. The La Salette message is one of reconciliation. This is a message of hope. But also one of warning.
But many Americans - and this includes Catholics - have a tendency to hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest. Such people will read passages from Sacred Scripture (or other holy books) which they find comforting while glossing over others which they find troubling. By way of example, I've read many commentaries which cite the passage from Divine Mercy in My Soul which I just cited but which conveniently omit the last portion of the paragraph: "Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice..."
Some prefer to believe in a Jesus who is a sort of moronic hippy who walked around preaching peace and love. But when the Son of Man began His public ministry, He did so with the word "repent" (Matthew 4:17). And He advised the woman caught in adultery to "sin no more" (John 8:11). Likewise, in the case of the man cured at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus advised him to "sin no more lest something worse befall thee" (John 5:14). When queried on the subject of how many would be saved, Jesus replied "few" because the "gate" to Heaven is "narrow" (Matthew 7:13-14). And while no one can pinpoint the precise meaning of the word "few," still, it is sobering that Jesus chose the image of a narrow gate.
Jesus is likened in the gospel to a stern master who has lazy servants flogged and murderous ones put to death (Matthew 21:41; Luke 12:47). And while it is true that Jesus is Mercy, He is also Justice. And for every parable illustrative of His mercy, there are three or four threatening divine retribution. Someone just accused me of being "too negative" for reminding others of this fact. But I didn't start a Blog to be popular. I prefer the friendship of Christ to that of the world.
The Judgment Day is always described as a day of wrath and never as a day of rejoicing (Proverbs 11:4; Zephaniah 1:15; Sirach 5:10; Romans 2:5; Revelation 6:17). Why is this? If everyone (or even a large segment of mankind) is headed for Heaven, why does Sacred Scripture refer to the Judgment Day as a day of wrath?
The smug, self-satisfied "we-are-all-saved-already" attitude found in so many Catholic parishes is the result of the sin of presumption. Because there are priests who are betraying Jesus by refusing to preach on the reality of sin and the reality of Hell, a spiritual dry-rot has infected much of the Church. This is why nearly everyone receives Holy Communion at Mass but nearly no one goes to Confession.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about presumption: "There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God's almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit)." (CCC, 2092).
The words of Sacred Scripture remind us that such an attitude is very, very wrong: "Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not:' Great is his mercy; my many sins he will forgive.' For mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath." (Sirach 5:5-7).
A chastisement is coming. Why? Father Albert Hebert, S.M., explains: "Sin and evil is the one enemy of mankind. It spearheads the columns of all the other evils it brings with it. It brings destruction and death, and a terrible eternal death for the unrepentant, those who flaunt their pride and their resistance in the face of a Loving and Merciful God, those who are a continuous scandal to others. They forget that God's Justice must be infinite too, and that sooner or later it must be exercised to preserve His honor and integrity, to save the innocent, to confirm the good and to justify the martyrs."
Make no mistake about it: God will not be mocked. Unless we as a people repent from our sins and make atonement, the chastisement we face will be indescribable. How many innocent babies have been murdered every year? Do you suppose that the blood of Abel cried out to God after his murder but that the blood of these babies does not? Sins of homosexuality, contraception, fornication, adultery and so on. Do you suppose God will continue to allow Himself to be mocked?