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Pope proclaims Jubilee Year for Catholic Church to be more merciful, not judgmental or severe

  • Pope Francis walks inside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, April 11, 2015. Pope Francis has proclaimed a special year of efforts by the Catholic Church to be more merciful and less judgmental. At St. Peter's Basilica Saturday evening, he listened as a Vatican prelate read excerpts from a papal bull, or decree, in which Francis proclaimed an "Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy" Holy Year. The year begins on Dec. 8 with Francis' opening the normally closed Holy Door in the back of the basilica, and ends on Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis walks inside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, April 11, 2015. Pope Francis has proclaimed a special year of efforts by the Catholic Church to be more merciful and less judgmental. At St. Peter's Basilica Saturday evening, he listened as a Vatican prelate read excerpts from a papal bull, or decree, in which Francis proclaimed an "Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy" Holy Year. The year begins on Dec. 8 with Francis' opening the normally closed Holy Door in the back of the basilica, and ends on Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis holds the pastoral staff as he walks inside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, April 11, 2015. Pope Francis has proclaimed a special year of efforts by the Catholic Church to be more merciful and less judgmental. At St. Peter's Basilica Saturday evening, he listened as a Vatican prelate read excerpts from a papal bull, or decree, in which Francis proclaimed an "Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy" Holy Year. The year begins on Dec. 8 with Francis' opening the normally closed Holy Door in the back of the basilica, and ends on Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis holds the pastoral staff as he walks inside St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, April 11, 2015. Pope Francis has proclaimed a special year of efforts by the Catholic Church to be more merciful and less judgmental. At St. Peter's Basilica Saturday evening, he listened as a Vatican prelate read excerpts from a papal bull, or decree, in which Francis proclaimed an "Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy" Holy Year. The year begins on Dec. 8 with Francis' opening the normally closed Holy Door in the back of the basilica, and ends on Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis speaks in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, April 11, 2015. Pope Francis has proclaimed a special year of efforts by the Catholic Church to be more merciful and less judgmental. At St. Peter's Basilica Saturday evening, he listened as a Vatican prelate read excerpts from a papal bull, or decree, in which Francis proclaimed an "Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy" Holy Year. The year begins on Dec. 8 with Francis' opening the normally closed Holy Door in the back of the basilica, and ends on Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis speaks in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, April 11, 2015. Pope Francis has proclaimed a special year of efforts by the Catholic Church to be more merciful and less judgmental. At St. Peter's Basilica Saturday evening, he listened as a Vatican prelate read excerpts from a papal bull, or decree, in which Francis proclaimed an "Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy" Holy Year. The year begins on Dec. 8 with Francis' opening the normally closed Holy Door in the back of the basilica, and ends on Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has proclaimed a special year of efforts by the Catholic Church to be more merciful and less judgmental.

At St. Peter's Basilica Saturday evening, he listened as a Vatican prelate read excerpts from a papal bull, or decree, in which Francis proclaimed an "Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy" Holy Year. The year begins on Dec. 8 with Francis' opening the normally closed Holy Door in the back of the basilica, and ends on Nov. 20, 2016.

Francis says the church must talk about God "in a more accessible way" and avoid "fortress" mentalities because its credibility depends on more mercy and less severity.

He announced that in cathedrals worldwide, a special "door of mercy" will stay open during Holy Year so churches become an "oasis of mercy."