Pope Francis continues to make waves in the Catholic church. This week, in a stunning deviation from Catholic catechism, the Pope announced that any woman who’s had an abortion and expresses contrition for her actions can be absolved. By any priest. CNN is reporting on this story, which has gotten both outrage and praise around the globe.
Customarily, abortion has been considered a mortal sin in the Catholic church. It demanded excommunication, something that could only be reversed/absolved by a bishop. At the bishop’s discretion, of course.
“The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented.”
It’s important to note that Pope Francis’ new policy of universal forgiveness for aborting is not a permanent one. It’s part of the Catholic Church’s traditional “Year of Mercy,” which runs from December 6 to November 20, 2016. Some authorities in the Catholic clergy, however, don’t discount the possibility of this new policy being something that sticks around.
This is largely due to Pope Francis’ forgiving, sympathetic and arguably progressive nature.
“I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision.”
Most people are well aware that this isn’t the first time the sitting pontiff has made wave in the Catholic church and religious world in general. He has the distinction of being the first papal successor elected while the previous Pope was still in office in 6 centuries. He took over papal duties for Pope Benedict XVI in 2013.
Pope Francis has also been lauded and criticized in almost equal measure due to his views on homosexuality, which has long been severely prohibited by the Catholic Church.
‘If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
In addition to grabbing headlinees for his latest controversial stance, Pope Francis is making news for his upcoming visit to the Big Apple. The first papal visit to New York City since Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 will be taking place later this month. Pope Francis is set to pass through Central Park on September 25, according to the New York Times.
The scheduled appearance is set to take place at about 5 P.M. While attendance is free, tickets are limited and are going to be awarded by random selection. Anyone interested in attending the historic event and getting a glimpse of Pope Francis is invited to apply through the city’s website. Entry is limited to NYC residents, and those chosen to witness the visit of Pope Francis will be notified on September 10 and awarded a pair of tickets to the procession.
While visiting New York City, Pope Francis will also be holding Mass at Madison Square Garden, conducting a multi-denominational ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, speaking at the UN General Assembly and holding evening prayer at St.Patrick’s Cathedral.
No matter your religious affiliation, you have to admit that Pope Francis is a voice of global influence. His words regarding abortion are words that will resound. He has taken a bold, controversial stance on a bold, controversial issue. The repercussions of the Pope’s universal abortion forgiveness for the Year of Mercy will certainly keep the subject in the forefront for the weeks and even months to come.
Pope Francis has been accused by some of being a “radical” Pope. Perhaps. One thing is for certain: he’s one Pope who’s bringing the Catholic Church into the forefront like few have in recent memory.
[Image Courtesy: Franco Origlia/Getty Images]