Pope: Mercy trumps moralizing as he opens Vatican Holy Door



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter's Basilica today to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church.

Francis stood in prayer on the threshold of the basilica's Holy Door then walked through it, the first of an estimated 10 million faithful who will pass through over the course of the next year in a rite of pilgrimage dating back centuries.

A thin and frail Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI walked through the doorway right after Francis, gingerly negotiating the two steps with the help of a cane and his longtime assistant. It was a rare outing for the 88-year-old Benedict, whose historic resignation led to Francis' election and a papacy dedicated to showing the merciful side of the church.

Some 5,000 extra police, national police and soldiers have been deployed around Rome, and a no-fly zone imposed on its skies, to protect the pilgrims who are flocking to Rome on foot, by car, train and plane to participate in the yearlong celebration.

Security was heightened after the Vatican was listed as a possible target following the Paris attacks.

APPHOTO AJM116: Pope Francis enters St. Peter's Basilica after opening the Holy Door, at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (8 Dec 2015)

<<APPHOTO AJM116 (12/08/15)££

APPHOTO XVAT104: Pope Francis hugs Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, right, before pushing open the Holy Door, seen in the background, during a ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP) (8 Dec 2015)

<<APPHOTO XVAT104 (12/08/15)££

APPHOTO ALT124: Pope Francis speaks during the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) (8 Dec 2015)

<<APPHOTO ALT124 (12/08/15)££

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast