We have had the Holy Year (many), the Marian Year, the Year of Evangelisation, and now the Year of Mercy.
So what is it all about?
One element is supposed to be a return to (or a wake for?) Vatican II, but I don't see much sign of that in the list of activities for the year. On the whole, these seem to consist of a load of ceremonials, decentralisation of the power to forgive reserved sins and a liberal dishing out of the divine currency of indulgences.
Among the ceremonials is the ghoulish bringing of the bodies of Padre Pio and Leopold Mandic to Rome for public display and veneration.
Incidentally, those two bodies seem to be in reasonable shape, which reminds me. Was it not the case in the past that one test of a claim to sainthood was that the body did not decompose as it does for most mortals? Perhaps it's time for a holy audit in this department. No doubt this holy habeas corpus would result in at least a few vacancies for aspiring candidates, though some of these would no doubt have to be abandoned on this criterion. What price Matt Talbot and Edel Quinn then?
Tony Flannery has commented that he didn't see any movement in this merciful year in the case of the "silenced" priests, of whom he is one. Now that's an interesting point and possibly a litmus test of the limits of mercy when it comes to doctrine.
I would argue that the concept of mercy is totally inappropriate to these cases. It is too much like being properly convicted of a crime and then getting a pardon during some sort of amnesty. These men (and women?) have not committed a crime. They have been unfairly convicted by a medieval and unaccountable court and the convictions should be overturned.
They were punished for taking Vatican II at face value and refusing to be complicit in the picking at the carcass by the vultures and hyenas in the CDF (Inquisition to you). They should be reinstated as of right and with a (signed!) apology from the CDF (countersigned by Francis).
Some people will point to what they see as movement on this front in the lifting of certain restrictions on Hans Küng and Seán Fagan. These concessions only prove that the CDF/Vatican may have learned a little from the 1916 executions. They don't want these two old men to become martyrs in the cause of progress. When it comes to potential martyrs there are sufficient sycophants around chomping at the bit.
Anyway, to get back to the "silenced". The Vatican does not seem to be prepared to reinstate them to full functionality even in a woefully inadequate "act of mercy".
New Vatican Year of Mercy Website