Well, this is clearly a case of making a virtue of necessity. Given the widespread abandonment of the Church by Catholics in many countries, and the archaic stand of the Vatican on many issues that puts that the Church far behind secular moral progress, it’s no surprise that today Pope Francis gave priests the power to forgive abortions. This was the permanent extension of a temporary decree issued by the Pope during Jubilee Year.
That said, it’s still a move to be applauded, even though the Church itself is an outmoded institution that should be scrapped.
Pope Francis will allow Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion, he announced in a letter released Monday.
The letter states: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”“May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation,” the letter continues. “I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”Developing story – more to come
How does this represent a change? Well, in the past, abortions were considered such a grave sin that anybody who had one was automatically excommunicated. And, as The Independent notes:
In the past, only a bishop or a designated chief confessor of a diocese could grant absolution for an abortion.
What I don’t get about all this is how the Pope even has the power to decree what actions (e.g., unforgiven grave sins or excommunication) can put a person in danger of hell, and which can be forgiven by God. Did God tell Pope Francis? Is the Pontiff speaking ex cathedra (or “inflammably,” as Archie Bunker used to say)? If not—and perhaps some Catholics or ex-Catholics can enlighten us on this—then he’s simply making up Catholic doctrine, which represents a decree about what God wants and does not want. And if that’s the case, I want to know where Francis got a pipeline to God’s wishes.