The Catholic University of America

William Mattison III, interim dean, theology and religious studies, and Chad Pecknold, associate professor, theology, were interviewed by Catholic News Agency on the Year of Mercy. See below.

What is mercy – and what are some false conceptions of it?

From: EWTN/CNA
Date: Dec. 9, 2015
Author: Matt Hadro

True mercy is action, “reaching out to and accompanying people where they’re at, even in their state of brokenness…in order to bring new life,” Dr. William Mattison, a moral theology professor at the Catholic University of America, said in an interview with EWTN News.

This “brokenness” could be a spiritual state like sinfulness or a physical or emotional sickness, he clarified.

“The fundamental stance of God towards humanity is mercy,” he said. “We alienated ourselves from God, communally and individually in sin,” he acknowledged, but “God doesn’t just feel bad for us, He sends the Son. Christ doesn’t just feel bad for people, He heals people and invites them.”

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A pilgrimage to a Holy Door is actually a “very concrete” act of participation in God’s mercy and is at the “heart” of the Year of Mercy, said Dr. Chad Pecknold, a theology professor at Catholic University of America.

The tradition goes back centuries to the time when churches and cathedrals were physical sanctuaries for innocent people fleeing violence and war, he explained.

“This is just the eternal spiritual extension of that idea, it seems to me,” he said, that the cathedrals and shrines are both physical and spiritual sanctuaries for pilgrims. “The fundamental theme is return…return to the cathedrals.”

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