Confessional readingeaglecomI was confused reading the articles about the Pope’s permission for priests to forgive the sin of abortion in the upcoming Jubilee Year which starts on December 8, 2015 and ends on November 26, 2016.

The BBC had the best explanation:

In most countries, only a bishop can approve forgiveness for abortion. They would then delegate an expert priest to hear the confession.

I didn’t know that. I assumed that priests could forgive any sin, provided the supplicant was truly contrite for the past and repentant for the future.

That is true only in certain countries. In the case of the United Kingdom:

the rule relaxation will not affect Catholics in England, Wales and Scotland as all priests there can already forgive abortion without seeking permission from a bishop.

Other news outlets could have explained this better, but who expects modern media to ask enough questions?

In any event, this is not a new ‘forgiveness’ for past abortions, as such absolution is nothing new in the Catholic Church. This simply extends it to a priest’s discretion during the Jubilee Year.

Let us hope it is not misread by young women as meaning they have permission to proceed with an abortion now — notionally in good conscience (I use the words advisedly) — and be forgiven for it in a few months’ time.

Advertisements