Q. 1. What is the Catholic definition of mercy? Is it a different interpretation than what is stated in a standard dictionary?
A. 1. As a general rule, mercy is a disposition to be kind and forgiving. Mercy is founded on compassion. It differs from compassion or the feeling of sympathy in putting this feeling into practice with a readiness to assist. It is therefore the ready willingness to help anyone in need, especially in need of pardon or reconciliation.
In the Catholic environment, speaking on the matter of the "Year of Mercy," Pope Francis stated: "When such a woman (who had an abortion) has repented and seeks absolution in the sacrament of confession, he said, 'the forgiveness of God cannot be denied.'" Catholic mercy has no boundary! It forgives all sins. True and pure mercy, Divine mercy, is found in the Sacrament of Confession, where the Lord Jesus, through His priest, forgives the sins of all sinners, especially the worst of sinners. Such a mercy is not only in words, but also in action.