Just as it happened in dioceses around the world, the Jubilee Year of Mercy was inaugurated in the Archdiocese of Edmonton on Sunday, December 13, with the opening of a Holy Door at our cathedral church,

Archbishop Richard Smith blessed and opened the Holy Door in a special ceremony just before the 10:30 Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica. In his homily, the Archbishop reflected on the powerful symbolism of the door -- both the door that opens to goodness, and the door that must be closed to evil.

"We can see many holy doors opening widely all around us," the Archbishop said. "Many of our parishes are welcoming refugees from Syria, opening for them doors to a new life. In recent years we have worked with our city and others in the province to open doors for the homeless to help them get a new start. I see in our schools doors opened to children with developmental disabilities or struggling with family rupture in order to surround them with love and community. Our hospitals advocate mightily for doors to open across our country for quality palliative care, and our social service agencies seek out those who are otherwise forgotten to open for them the door to inclusion within a community of love. This is not mere humanism. It springs from the mercy we have received from God, and is our response to the command of Jesus himself: "Be merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful."

"That same command also means closing whatever unholy doors presently stand open in our lives. Doorways leading to anger and bitterness, to refusals to forgive, to cruelty and violence, to greed, to laziness, to envy, to licentiousness, to prideful self-reliance, to exploitation of others and so on. These are doors that must not only be closed; they need to be slammed shut and hermetically sealed if we are truly to live as people of the Gospel, as people of mercy.

"There is one door in particular that is opening before our country right now, a very unholy door indeed. Canada is legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia. This is a door of astonishing arrogance, fashioned on the presumption that we can judge the quality of another's life or determine on our own when life is no longer worth living. It claims to be a door of mercy, when in fact it is one that opens onto a room with no floor, a vast abyss in which fundamental respect for the sanctity of human life falls away and the weak and vulnerable are left with no sure foothold. Even though the State may open this door, we must be clear that it should remain solidly closed and have nothing to do with it. Mercy will also move us to speak up for the conscience rights of doctors and healthcare professionals as they resist the pressure to substitute killing for care."

Read the full homily text