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Hope is the central message of Pope Francis’ decree for the Jubilee Year 2025

Pope Francis today issued the decree, known as the “Bull of Indiction”, for the Jubilee Year 2025, which he will open in St. Peter’s Basilica on December 24, 2024 and close on January 6, 2026 .

Hope is the central message of this 8,400-word decree, known by its Latin title “Spes non Confundit” (“Hope does not disappoint”), a copy of which Pope Francis gave to the prelates representing the four great Roman basilicas and churches in the region. different continents in a solemn ceremony in front of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica this evening, May 9, Feast of the Ascension.

In the bull, which in places reads like a social encyclical, Pope Francis told believers that in this jubilee year “we are called to be tangible signs of hope for those of our brothers and sisters who are experiencing difficulties all sorts “. He stressed the need for diplomacy to resolve the world’s wars and armed conflicts, called on leaders to address the needs of the “billions” of poor people around the world who lack food and water, and launched an appeal, as Pope John Paul II did. in the jubilee year 2000 – for the cancellation of debts of poor countries and amnesty or pardon for prisoners.

Following a tradition of biblical origin, the first jubilee of the Catholic Church was proclaimed in 1300 by Pope Boniface VIII and since then, a jubilee year has taken place every 25 years. This is Francis’ second jubilee, as he decreed an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and, breaking with precedent, inaugurated it in the war-torn Central African Republic in November 2015.

“Everyone knows what hope is. In the heart of every person lives hope as well as the desire and expectation of good things to come,” declared the Pope in the decree which does not shy away from the dramatic situation humanity is going through.

“Christian hope neither deceives nor disappoints because it is based on the certainty that nothing and no one can ever separate us from the love of God,” he underlined, drawing inspiration from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.

He prayed that this jubilee year would be an opportunity to “renew hope” not only for the more than 30 million pilgrims who are expected to travel to Rome for this jubilee, but also for the countless millions who, unable to do it, will celebrate it. in their local churches or through pilgrimages to Marian shrines around the world. He also presented it as an opportunity for conversion, for reconciliation with God through the sacrament of penance, for obtaining indulgences through God’s mercy, for renewing our faith and our love through hope and for proclaiming love of God to the many people who suffer in today’s world.

He reminded believers that “the Christian life is a journey, calling for moments of greatest intensity encourage and support hope as a constant companion who guides our steps towards the goal of our encounter with the Lord Jesus” (emphasis in original).

“In addition to finding hope in the grace of God” in this Jubilee year, he said, “we are also called to discover hope in the signs of the times that the Lord gives us.” He said: “We must recognize the immense goodness present in our world, lest we be tempted to believe ourselves overwhelmed by evil and violence. »

Francis identified “the first sign of hope” in “the desire to peace in our world, which finds itself once again plunged into the tragedy of war. He asked: “How is it possible… (that) the desperate cry for help does not motivate world leaders to resolve the many regional conflicts given their possible global consequences?” He declared that “the need for peace challenges us all and demands that concrete measures be taken” and called on diplomacy to “be tireless in its commitment to seek, with courage and creativity, all opportunities to undertake negotiations aimed at lasting peace.

A second sign of hope should “involve having enthusiasm for life and being willing to share it,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is lacking,” he noted, pointing to declining birth rates in many countries. He called for “responsible legislation” from states to help reverse this situation and urged the Christian community to “be at the forefront in emphasizing the need for a social compact to support and foster hope” so that we can have “a future filled with hope”. laughter of babies and children.

During the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis said: “we are called to be tangible signs of hope for those of our brothers and sisters who are experiencing difficulties of all kinds.” He proposed many concrete ways to achieve this.

He called on believers to care for prisoners and called on governments to give prisoners hope through “forms of amnesty or pardon.” He said believers and their pastors “should demand dignified conditions for those in prison” and the abolition of the death penalty.

He announced that he wanted to “open a Holy Door” in a prison, just as he will open the Holy Doors in the four great Roman basilicas.

He called on believers to care for “the sick, at home or in hospital” through “proximity and affection” and to care for the elderly who “so often feel alone and abandoned.”

He stressed that it was particularly important to give signs of hope to young people in today’s world. “It is sad to see young people without hope” because they lack employment, job security or realistic future prospects “and become discouraged,” take drugs or seek other escape routes. “The Jubilee Year should prompt the Church to make greater efforts to “get closer to them,” he said.

He called on believers in this jubilee year to offer “signs of hope” to migrants who leave their countries in search of a better life for themselves and their families. He insisted that “exiles, displaced people and refugees… should be guaranteed security and access to employment and education, as well as the means to find their place in a new context social “.

Then, in a powerful appeal, Francis said: “I ask with all my heart that hope be granted to the billions of poor people, who often lack the essentials for life. »

“It is scandalous,” he declared, “that in a world endowed with immense resources, intended largely for the production of weapons, the poor continue to constitute the majority of the planet’s population, billions of of people. »

Pope Francis said the Jubilee Year reminds us that “the goods of the earth are not intended for a privileged few, but for all” and said “the rich must be generous and not turn their eyes away from the face of their brothers and sisters.” need.”

He called on governments to divert money from military spending to a global fund dedicated to eradicating hunger and helping poor countries develop “so that their citizens do not resort to violent or illusory situations, or are not forced to leave their country to seek refuge.” a more dignified life.

He called on the richest nations “to forgive the debts of countries that will never be able to repay them.” More than a question of generosity, it is a question of justice. This injustice is aggravated by the “ecological debt” which exists between the North and the South “linked to trade imbalances having effects on the environment and the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods”.

The Argentine Pope recalled that the Jubilee Year coincides with the 1,700th anniversary of the first great ecumenical council of Nicaea “which sought to preserve the unity of the Church, seriously threatened by the denial of the full divinity of Jesus Christ and therefore of his consubstantiality with the Father” but “after various debates, by the grace of the Spirit, they unanimously approved the Creed which we still recite every Sunday during the celebration of the Eucharist”.

This council “was an important step in the history of the Church” and “represents a call to all Churches and ecclesial communities to persevere on the path to visible unity,” he declared. He recalled that the date of Easter had been discussed in Nicaea and lamented that the “different approaches” of the Eastern and Western Churches prevent all Christians from celebrating “the fundamental event of our faith on the same day”. But, he added, “(p)obviously, a common celebration (of Easter) will take place in 2025. May this serve as a call to all Christians, East and West, to take a step decisive towards unity around a common. date for Easter.

From the beginning of his pontificate, the Jesuit pope encouraged people to seek God’s forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation. He did it again in the bull. He recalled that he had commissioned the “Missionaries of Mercy” to reach out to people during the Year of Mercy and said he would do the same for this Jubilee. He urged bishops to do the same in their dioceses. Furthermore, he added that the indulgences of the Jubilee Year would be made available to the faithful, as happened in the past.

Francis concluded by saying that “the death and resurrection of Jesus are the heart of our faith and the basis of our hope” and that “thanks to the hope in which we have been saved, we can see the passage of time with the certainty that the history of humanity and our own individual history are not doomed to an impasse or a dark abyss, but oriented towards an encounter with the Lord of Glory.

After Mgr. Leonardo Sapienza, the regent of the papal household, had read extracts from the papal bull, the cardinals, bishops and other members of the clergy entered the basilica followed by Pope Francis for the signing of vespers.

In his homily, Francis again focused on the theme of hope and said:

Dear brothers and sisters, in this Year of Prayer, as we prepare for the celebration of the Jubilee, let us lift our hearts to Christ and become singers of hope in a world marked by too much despair. Through our actions, our words, the decisions we make every day, our patient efforts to sow seeds of beauty and goodness wherever we find ourselves, we want to sing hope, so that its melody touches the hearts of all. humanity and awakens in every heart the joy and courage to fully embrace life.

In accordance with tradition, the ceremony took place on the feast of the Ascension of the resurrected Jesus into heaven.