Schmalz Publishes Book to Celebrate the Holy Year of Mercy

Mathew Schmalz’s latest book is inspired by the Holy Year of Mercy, a special year of blessing and remission of sins initiated by Pope Francis lasting from December 2015 to November 2016.

Mercy Matters: Opening Yourself to the Life-Changing Gift, is a collection of reflections on mercy that Schmalz has experienced in both his personal and professional life.

Schmalz, associate professor of religious studies and an expert on the papacy, explains that Pope Francis inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Mercy to encourage us to reflect upon how people experience and express God’s merciful love. “Part of the point of the book is extending our understanding of mercy,” Schmalz says. “I’m trying to connect mercy to other things, like kindness, compassion and forgiveness, as a way of expanding our understanding of mercy, and how it can impact our lives and relationships with one another.”

Schmalz says the stories in the book, which was published in May 2016 by Our Sunday Visitor, reflect honesty about his own views of mercy, and are also open-ended to frame discussion for those who read it. “Readers should feel free to disagree with how I have interpreted the issues that I have shared and put forward. Mercy Matters is not a textbook that defines what mercy is or should be,” Schmalz says. “Instead, it is an invitation to reflect and discern the many ways God’s mercy can be made manifest for all of us.”

Schmalz’s teaching and scholarship focus on Roman Catholicism and modern religious movements. He has published opinion pieces in The Washington Post, Commonweal Magazine, National Catholic Reporter and the Huffington Post, and has provided expert commentary to USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC’s Good Morning America, The Boston Globe, NPR, CNBC, MSNBC and U.S. News & World Report, among others.  ■

—Jessica Kennedy