Pope Paul's proclamation that 1975 will be a 'Holy Year' -- continuing a Roman Catholic tradition dating back to 1300 -- came at his weekly general audience in St.
Pope Paul's proclamation that 1975 will be a 'Holy Year' -- continuing a Roman Catholic tradition dating back to 1300 -- came at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Wednesday (May 9). But although the custom is a traditional one, in which Catholics receive dispensations for their sine in return for a pilgrimage to the Vatican, Pope Paul has broadened the practice for 1975. Declaring the theme to be 'interior renewal and reconciliation', he said the 1975 Holy Year would involve the entire Church -- not just the Vatican, as in previous Holy Years. Individual churches in every country would be given a prominent and important role, he said.
Special preparations for the Holy Year, from Christmas 1974 to Christmas 1975, will begin everywhere on June 10 this year. Holy Years, or Jubilees, have been held every quarter of a century since 1470, with the exception of some Holy Years which were cancelled for political reasons. The idea was instituted in 1300 by Pope Boniface VIII, and held irregularly until 1470 when the 'quarter century' rule was proclaimed.
The world has a Roman Catholic population of about 600 million.