Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Pope Francis allows priests to forgive abortion in the Catholic church

by Jaymi Gooden - Campus Talk Editor
Tue, Dec 13th 2016 11:00 am

 Remember when abortion used to get you a one-way ticket to Hell? Well, not anymore. 

Pope Francis has extended the power of Catholic priests to forgive abortions, making the announcement in an apostolic letter released Monday, Nov. 21.

Previously, abortion was seen as an action that would result in a woman's excommunication from the Catholic church. 

According to the CNN article, "Pope Francis extends Catholic priests' power to forgive abortion," by Tim Hume, Cristiana Moisescu and Daniel Burke, priests could forgive abortion in 1983, but only bishops could lift the excommunication.

Now, I guess any old, white man standing in a robe while holding the Bible will do.

Despite all the negative thoughts running through my mind regarding this new power like, "why does the church have more rights to my body than I do," and "I don't need your forgiveness for anything. I'm grown," this new power extended to priests is a win for women in the religious world.

According to the aforementioned article, Kate D'Annunzio of Rachel's Vineyard, a Pennsylvania-based group that ministers to women who have had abortions, Pope Francis has "clarified" that now priests have the power to not only forgive, but to welcome women back into the church.    

"The church has had the ability to forgive these women, but many of these women had difficulty forgiving themselves," D'Annunzio said. "This outreach by the Pope is saying 'Don't isolate yourselves, come back to the church.'"

Pope Francis initially introduced the church's new policies last year when he said that priests around the world would be authorized to forgive the "sin of abortion" for the duration of the Church's Year of Mercy, which ran from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016.

The Year of Mercy is a longstanding Catholic tradition during which believers may receive special indulgences for their sins.

"The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented," he said at the time, expressing sympathy for women who had been through the "agonizing and painful" decision to terminate their pregnancy.

In a perfect world women shouldn't have to repent for choosing to do whatever it is they want to their own body, but I'm glad that the church is recognizing that abortion isn't always a fly-by decision that women make when they forget to take their birth control or don't feel like wearing a condom. 

Abortion is typically a painful decision for most women. Even if it's not as agonizing as the church would like to believe, let's just say that it is, so that those who want to be a part of the church are not chased away with pitchforks and threatened with pyres when they excercise a basic human right.

According to The New York Times article, "Pope Francis extends Priests' ability to forgive abortion," by Elisabetta Povoledo and Liam Stack, Pope Francis also called on the faithful to "promote a culture of mercy based on the rediscovery of encounter with others, a culture in which no one looks at another with indifference or turns away from the suffering of our brothers and sisters."

That's just the church's Christian way of saying, "yeah we've got some people who are different: a few homosexuals, a few poor people, a few women who've had abortions, a few people who don't believe in God at all. Let it go everybody."

Human rights activists have been spouting the same ideals for decades. Funny how it only seems like the right thing to do when the holiest man on Earth says so. Regardless, the church and I don't agree on many things but Pope Francis has got my support on this one.

This is the 21st century. 

There are  tons of people from different cultures who don't look like you, don't act like you and don't think like you. The Bible was written many centuries ago by old men who couldn't even fathom modern ideals and if the Bible can't be amended then maybe our thoughts and the perceptions of the people around us can.

You've done good Pope Francis. You've done real good.

Photo of the Week

Taken by Vincent Croce:
Staff Photographer

Author List