Speaking before a general audience crowd a little smaller than usual, Pope Francis offered a comforting message. He has finished his catechesis on the family and on this occasion spoke about mercy, ahead of this year's upcoming Jubilee Year.
The Pope said that everyone has something to repent for, things that weigh on their conscience. The Church, he explained, will always open the doors of God, who never tires of forgiving.
"And if the door to the mercy of God is always open, the doors of our churches must be too, the love of our communities, our parishes, our institutions, our dioceses, must always be open. FLASH There are no closed doors in the Church. Everything is open.”
It's important for Christians and especially pastors to be welcoming, the Pope said. He added that no one can decide who to help and who to ignore, because God includes everyone.
"The guardian does not choose the sheep. The secretary of the parish does not choose them. No. They choose themselves. All sheep are invited. They are chosen by the Good Shepherd. The guardian also obeys the voice of the Shepherd.”
Further, the Pope suggested that pastors, the guardians of the Church, can never forget that they are the administrators of God's mercy, and not the boss themselves.
"We can say that we must be like that guardian. The Church is the doorman to the Lord's home. The Church is the doorman but not the boss of the Lord's home.”
Pope Francis recalled that the World Day for Children will be celebrated on November 20th. He concluded his audience with a call to the international community to guarantee education for everyone and to fight against the creation of child soldiers.