Vatican Seeking “Missionary of Mercy” Priests

iStock_000020417460_SmallThe Vatican has put out a call to priests around the world to apply to become “missionaries of mercy” priests who will be sent into dioceses to preach and hear confessions during the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy.

The Catholic Herald is reporting on the newly posted list of qualifications for priests who are interested in becoming special messengers of God’s mercy. Appearing on the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization website, priests who meet certain criteria, and have the support of their bishop or superior, are being asked to apply for the service.

Missionaries of Mercy must be:

1. a living sign of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness;

2. facilitators for all, with no one excluded, of a truly human encounter, a source of liberation, rich with responsibility for overcoming obstacles and taking up the new life of Baptism again;

3. guided by the words, “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all;

4. inspiring preachers of Mercy;

5. heralds of the joy of forgiveness;

6. welcoming, loving, and compassionate Confessors, who are most especially attentive to the difficult situations of each person.

The missionaries will be commissioned formally by the Pope and sent out on February 10, 2016, which is Ash Wednesday. They will be sent into dioceses to preach and administer the sacrament of reconciliation during special Year of Mercy events.

As promised by Pope Francis, these priests will be given special faculties allowing them “to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See”. These reserved sins would be actions that bring with them automatic excommunication, such as abortion when the person is aware of the penalty and commits the sin anyway.

Normally absolution in these cases requires either the intervention of a local bishop or the Apostolic Penitentiary, which is the Vatican “court”.

However, during the Year of Mercy, these special missionaries will be able to remove the excommunication and grant absolution in cases where the person is repentant.

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