Last week the pope symbolically opened the doors to St. Peters, inaugurating the Catholic Church’s extraordinary jubilee year of mercy. Jubilee years, ordinary or extraordinary, offer special celebrations and pilgrimages, giving believers the opportunity to experience God’s grace through sacraments, especially confession. Pope Francis who describes his papacy as a ‘kairos’ or ‘supreme moment of mercy said the time was ripe to “rediscover the mercy of God with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time”.
The Holy Year, so he said, is a response to the world’s need for a “revolution of tenderness” from which “justice and all the rest derives”.
All the rest?
This week the Force Awakens. The last instalment of the epic battle between good and evil, appropriately perhaps, premieres in Paris. Jediistes will be honoured, moviegoers delighted and the others, a minority I am sure, will have to bear the pain of the lightsaber. On the bright side, Jar Jar Binks, the blundering Gungan, will not appear in Episode VII. See, Francis is right. There is mercy.
Meanwhile Donald Trump, in a simplistic response to the increasing terror threat from IS, proposed a ban on all Muslims wishing to enter the US. As a possible candidate to the presidency, perhaps Trump should think less of entertaining his potential voters and more of presenting viable solutions to a world in crisis.
This weekend at least seventeen Saudi female politicians won seats in the country’s first election, open to female candidates and voters. Out of 20 million Saudis, 1,5 million registered to vote of which 119 000 women and amongst the 6440 candidates (for seats in municipal councils without lawmaking or national powers) there were 900 women. Few Saudi women have identity cards and those who do still need permission to vote from either their husbands, fathers or brothers. Earlier, the country’s grand mufti described women’s involvement in politics as “opening the door to evil”. That door has this weekend been opened, albeit less than ajar.
Religion, movies, politics, what else brightens up our lives? Music of course. Songs and ballads and, who else but Adele. Music for grannies? Have a heart, ex-Oasis Mr. Noel Gallagher. Or mercy.
At the COP21, states agreed on a first universal legally binding agreement to tackle global warming, trying to keep global temperature rises “well below” 2C. “A major leap for mankind … the most beautiful and peaceful revolution,” Francois Hollande declared.
Another revolution? Mercy me…
We are approaching Christmas; a fitting time to think about ‘stuff’ like shopping and peace, charity and decorations, compassion, climate and canapés, ducks and geese, liver and mercy.
Yule tide and bells that jingle, red ribbons, candle light…. It is early days yet, still,