From Section IV: A Church of Mercy
God has entrusted the continuing work of mercy in a special way to his Church, both individually in the work of all who are disciples of Christ, and collectively in the work of the Church as a community and institution. The Holy Father makes clear that this work of mercy goes to the very heart of what it means to be church and of our identity, our mission, as Christians.
Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love [MV, 10].
The Church is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel…. The Spouse of Christ must pattern her behavior after the Son of God…. It is absolutely essential for the Church and for the credibility of her message that she herself live and testify to mercy. Her language and her gestures must transmit mercy so as to touch the hearts of all people and inspire them once more to find the road that leads to the Father [MV, 12].
“The Church feels the urgent need to proclaim God’s mercy. Her life is authentic and credible only when she becomes a convincing herald of mercy…. The Church is called above all to be a credible witness to mercy professing it and living it as the core of the revelation of Jesus Christ” [MV, 25].