Pope opens Vatican’s ‘Holy Door’ to start Jubilee year

With recent attacks in Paris and San Bernadino as a backdrop and amid tight security, Pope Francis was joined by his predecessor, the former Pope Benedict on Tuesday, in opening Roman Catholicism’s Holy Year, with a call to set aside the “fear and dread” of the world. Mana Rabiee reports.

(CENTRO TELEVISIVO VATICANO) – Tens of thousands gathered at the Vatican as Pope Francis launched a ‘Holy Year’ or Jubilee — year-long religious events around the world designed to bring solidarity, hope and justice.

Francis was joined by his predecessor .. a frail-looking Benedict who stunned the Church with his resignation in 2013.

The pontiff marked the occasion by opening the usually bricked up doors of St. Peter’s Basilica and walking through…

By going through the holy doors of a church during Holy Year, Catholics symbolically pass from sin to grace.

In his homily, Francis urged the faithful to have courage in their spiritual and daily lives.

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE FRANCIS, SAYING: (PARTLY COVERED WITH WORSHIPERS AND ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MATTEO RENZI SEATED)

“Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things.”

Holy Year takes place every quarter of a century and the next one was meant to be held in 2025.

But Francis, who is 78, called for an extraordinary Holy Year to happen now, on the theme of mercy …. part of his push to create a less judgmental and more inclusive Church.