Can somebody tell me what is it’s significance? I mean, I know it is among the most festive ceremonies of the Church, But I am struggling with it’s significance. When the Holy Father walks through the doors are our sins forgiven at that exact same moment? I read something on the forgiveness of sins when the doors open. Something like that. Is there any rite or bulletin that shows the way the ceremony is done? Any links would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
"*The Holy Door or ‘Porta Sancta’ is only open during a Holy Year (Jubilee), which occurs every 25 years (the last one in 2000). *
On the first day of a holy year, the Pope strikes the brick wall with a silver hammer and opens it to the pilgrims.
The message imparted by the Holy Door is that God’s mercy reaches out to mankind’s frailty."
Read more here: saintpetersbasilica.org/Interior/HolyDoor/HolyDoor.htm
Since I have never heard about this forgiving sins (and since forgiveness of sins properly takes place in the Sacrament of Reconciliation), I highly doubt that it does.
There is an indulgence attached. The two things to be aware of are (1) it does not “forgive sins” or in any way substitute for the sacrament of Reconciliation, it remits the punishment for sins in purgatory, and (2) it does not magically happen for everyone when the Pope walks through the door. You have to do stuff. Historically, I think, you had to go to confession, then make a pilgrimage to Rome and walk through the door.
John Paul II greatly relaxed the conditions for gaining the indulgence for the 2000 Holy Year. It still requires confession and a perfect act of contrition, but then you can go to Rome, or the Holy Land, or, um, your local cathedral, or visit the sick, or give up smoking for a day and give some money to the poor, “or other similar forms of personal sacrifice.” You can read the decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary here setting forth all the conditions. This opportunity, of course, expired with the end of that Holy Year.