The message of God’s mercy has become the central theological idea of Pope Francis’ pontifi cate. It is received in very diverse ways. Some Catholic theologians and columnists have expressed concern that mercy may be misunderstood and confused with a lack of response to sin. Theological diffi culty still concerns the relationship between mercy and justice. The theological thought of recent popes, however, shows that this confl ict is ostensible and justice and mercy are manifestations of the same love of God. Referring to repentance and conversion, it must be said that it is mercy that provokes conversion, and – contrary to some suggestions – not the other way round as if mercy was conditioned by conversion. The problem with the proclamation of mercy today is the decline of the sense of evil, and as a consequence – of the need of salvation from evil. Thus, the call to repentance and conversion makes sense only if the sense of sin has already been present in the listener. Therefore contemporary preaching must return to soteriology, which proclaims God’s forgiveness.