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Pope Francis Gives all Catholic Priests the Right to Forgive Abortion

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis on Monday allowed all Roman Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion, a power previously reserved for bishops or special confessor.

Francis, who has made a more inclusive and forgiving church a characteristic of his papacy, made the announcement in a document known as an “apostolic letter” after Sunday’s close of the Catholic Church’s “Holy Year of Mercy”.

He said he wanted to “restate as firmly as he can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.”

“Lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion…. 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 Pope said.

42 Comments

  1. FasholasLover

    November 21, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    The world is evolving. The only constant in life is change. However, l believe only God almighty has the right to forgive anything. I am Catholic by the way.

    • TeeS

      November 21, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      If God can forgive any sin and God is God why the need to go through man to ask for forgiveness for something like an abortion ?
      I can talk to God directly why do I need a mediator to ask for forgiveness ?
      I’m not being judgmental . I’m asking real questions.
      I hope I never have to abort a baby for any reason but even if it happens. God is my go to. There’s no need for the pope to give anyone right to forgive. God has already done that. So this has be confused. Cus if my pastor says he can’t forgive my sin. Pele oh. As long as my God , has cleansed me , I’m a new creature in his eyes. My old sins matter no more to him whether the pastor/priest approves or not ,
      Abi am I crazy ni?

    • Marian

      November 21, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      I understand the need to confess your sins but I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around that doctrine of priests and bishops forgiving sins either. Not sure if the Catholic bible Is different so maybe that will shed more light on it.

    • EE

      November 21, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      The Catholic church represents a tradition that extends back to St Peter. Christ specifically passed on the destinies of his flock (us) to him. To begin to understand would be the acceptance of that premise.

      That is the fundamental difference Luther rejected, the hierarchy of the church and our concept that faith must be paired with good works. So that is what the act of confession is, you’re accepting the hierarchy of the church by submitting to guidance on your part to forgiveness. In other words, Christianity has never been an individual journey, we are a community, “two or more gathered in his name”. In that community, we all have roles, some are fated to serve as our spiritual guides. Example, I think I’m a rather well informed Catholic, yet my knowledge pales in comparison to the clergy, specialization like the economists would say.

      The second is pairing faith with good works, remember the rich man of needle eye fame? He had faith, he could not take the action to prove his faith though. Our good acts are the cross Christ calls us bear, so that makes it a vital part of confession, to serve penance.

      The two work hand in hand as vital roles of your confessor, they are not a barrier with your personal relationship with God, anymore than Saint John was a barrier to Saint Peter’s, rather we are all one church, different roles, one community in Christ.

      About the gist of it I reckon, as I told @Fashola’sLover, a lot about this is being exaggerated, its more a lift of an excommunication ban than a “right” to forgive or as some have termed it, softening on abortion, Its just a long story.

      Apologies for any errors.

    • Vic

      December 4, 2016 at 6:22 am

      In my opinion, God is the only one who can forgive you or that matters. Confession is to make tee person feel better and if a person goes to confession and asks forgiveness, chances are they are sorry because they probably feel awkward telling a priest their sins. That being said, I think the Pope is trying to get people who feel awkward going to church because of their sins to return to church. This is the year of mercy for all people who have committed sins. It could be because he doesn’t want anyone to feel that they aren’t welcome at church. Either that or because it’s the 100th year of fatima and he wants as many people as possible to be forgiven so they can go to heaven.

    • EE

      November 21, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      Been to confession??? Same concept.

      What is actually being done is the Bishop’s right to rescind the automatic excommunication for abortion is being granted to Priests worldwide (it was formerly in the US alone).

      God has always forgiven us, Christ died for our sins, does not make sin right. An issue being made where none is. Rules are simply being expanded, like allowing you to take holy communion in your hand or reducing the preeminence of Latin mass(I’m sure you remember when it was compulsory on Sundays?), the Church does this from time to time.

  2. Delta geh

    November 21, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Only God has the power to forgive sins! To give a priest makes the death of Christ on the cross seem useless when in fact it’s the best thing that has happened to humanity! Because of it we can get into heaven if we surrender our lives to Christ!
    Also you only need to confess your sins to Jesus not some human who has the ability to judge you and has no power to forgive your sins.
    False doctrine is irritating!

    • A Real Nigerian

      November 21, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      I’m pretty sure the best thing to have
      happened to humanity is the washing
      machine.

    • EE

      November 21, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      False doctrine????

      It would involve knowing the history of Christianity to realise how absurd you sound. The equivalent would be a child calling their parent a foetus,

  3. Liz

    November 21, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    first of all I appreciate the current Pope for being more in tune with the new testament and understanding of the fact that judgement is only for God.
    That being said, I’m tired of religion placing power in humans. The most important thing is having a personal relationship with God. The rest really is immaterial.

  4. A Real Nigerian

    November 21, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    It’s things like these that make me really want to classify Catholicism and Christianity as two very different religions.
    A POPE (human) can give a PRIEST (also a human) the right to FORGIVE SINS? What?
    Someone explain this?

    • A Real Nigerian

      November 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      *this

    • Huh?

      November 21, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Truth is they are actually different, if you go to any catholic predominant country, they identify them separately. I first noticed this in Philippines and also in Spain. Although Nigerians like to believe it’s all the same Catholicism is not in line with several of the teachings of Jesus.

    • EE

      November 22, 2016 at 2:24 am

      You do realise Msrtin Luther was a Catholic monk, Henry VII a Catholic King, Zwingli, Jan Hus.

      Now if the first Protestants were Catholic, you can figure the rest out.

    • Sandi

      November 21, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      John 20: 22-23: when he had said this he breathed on them: Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive they are forgiven, and whose sins you retain, they are retained

      That passage shows Jesus giving the authority to forgive and not forgive sins to the apostles. The apostles are men.

      At a previous passage when Christ healed a man, he said to him your sins are forgiven and the man was healed. This caused an uproar and they questioned how a man can forgive sins just as you question and Jesus replied that the Son of Man has been given the power to forgive sins, and the people rejoiced that God has given man the power to forgive sins

    • A Real Nigerian

      November 21, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Oooh thanks!

    • Stuz

      November 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      U’ve said it all @ Sandy

    • angry bird

      November 21, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      I John2:1

    • Debby

      November 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      That’s bella naija’ heading. That’s not what he said. Please read it carefully

  5. Na Wa

    November 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Only God has the right and power to forgive. Don’t fall for this end time deception that will lead many to hell.

  6. A Real Nigerian

    November 21, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    I’m pretty sure the best thing to have happened to humanity is the washing machine.

  7. bruno

    November 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    sin, a man made ideology invented to make people feel bad and guilty about themselves. there is nothing like sin.

    I know a dunce will come now and start blabbing nonsense, crime is not the same thing as sin.

    people of the world, wake up. religion has held humanity hostage for so long. its time to wake up.

    u ask them, where did ur religion come from? they can’t answer
    where did ur holy book come from? they can not answer
    who wrote ur holy book? they can not answer.

    • What an ass

      November 21, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      But all those questions have been answered though, the fact that you do not believe it does not negate it.
      What surprises me is how people will be tolerant to anything but religion. If you don’t believe in God, good for you but what right do you have to tell others not to do so? If anyone wants to believe in unicorns let them be, face your own life and make it count.

    • A Real Nigerian

      November 21, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      Did you like your own comment? 0-22 likes after I refreshed within 30 seconds seems a bit fishy.

    • Vic

      December 4, 2016 at 6:30 am

      I totally agree with you 100%! I would like to add though, everyone thinks unicorns were made up by I don’t think that they are that far fetched. Thousands and millions of years ago alot allot of animals had horns that don’t today. What’s so crazy about a horse having a horn. I’m not saying that the horn has magical powers or can give you immunity, but I don’t think a horse with a horn is that crazy, especially when stories of unicorns are told in many cultures not just one. To say something doesn’t exist just because nobody you know has seen it doesn’t seem correct. I can think of someone who I know exists even though nobody i know has seen him.

    • EE

      November 21, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      I can answer all those things, as can any Priest, all you need do is ask, they are literally churches everywhere.

      Christianity as we know it originated in Roman province of Palestine.

      The bible is an amalgam of divinely inspired words containing the rulings and history of Christianity;s journey.

      The New Testament was authored by its named writers, the Old Testament were Jewish oral tradition transcribed and preserved by Jewish scribes.

      Talking about the Catholic Church’s role in circumscribing it, determining orthodox and heresy e.t.c, the riddle of Deuteronomy, it for example is younger than say 1 Samuel despite coming first, a wonderful theory is that it originated in King Josiah’s time, explaining its tonal difference from others “books of Moses”. Yeah, all those long stories often require facetime and a bottle of wine.

      Christianity is more than the bible, its Philosophy and Theology, most interestingly in my view its kickass history about human perseverance.

    • A Real Nigerian

      November 21, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      *Christianity as we know it originated in the Roman province of Judea
      Pretty sure there was never a province named Palestine.
      FTFY.

    • The Real Oma

      November 21, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      @EE, i am just really curious, and this isn’t just because of this post but from your contributions to previous posts, are you a priest or an ex-one, or a deacon or ex-deacon, or a seminarian?

    • EE

      November 22, 2016 at 2:36 am

      @RealOma ????? Let’s not give my Mother ideas, Nah Priesthood is not my calling. My Mother is just one of those intensely devout Catholics, it rubs off.

      @ARN During 73–63 BCE, the Roman Republic extended its influence into the region in the Third Mithridatic War, conquering Judea in 63 BCE, and splitting the former Hasmonean Kingdom into five districts. In 70 CE, Titus sacked Jerusalem, resulting in the dispersal of the city’s Jews and Christians to Yavne and Pella. In 132 CE, Hadrian joined the province of Judaea with Galilee to form a new province and renamed it Syria Palaestina, and Jerusalem was renamed “Aelia Capitolina” and after the Bar Kochba revolt Jews were prohibited from living in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Palestine

      “Pretty sure there was never a province named Palestine.”. Well now you know, no thanks necessary.

    • The Real Oma

      November 22, 2016 at 11:39 pm

      @EE :)) :)) :))

  8. Beard gang

    November 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    well Jesus gave man authority to continue his earthly work by giving us the power of his priesthood (order of melchizedek) and gave the power to forgive sins John 20: 19-23..
    this does not mean we can’t pray to Jesus for forgiveness of our sins; the Lord’s prayers was instituted by Jesus makes that so valid.
    the sacrament of penance is advised for catholics not just to draw us back to Christ but also for counselling.
    Jesus gave priest the power to convey forgiveness of God not by the priest’s power but by the power of God John 20 will help out

    • Anon

      November 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Thank you. I think Pentecostals in Nigerian know better about the Catholic faith, but then any opportunity to put down someone else’s ideologies can never be missed. Apparently we are all idol worshippers that don’t read the bible, worship Mary and all 100% of our priests are the source of paedophilia and homosexuality. Point out an error in their pastors and it’s “touch not my anointed”

    • Miss Pee

      November 21, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      Convey???? pls you’ve being reconciled to the Father by Jesus You have ACCESS to the Father, there’s nothing your Arch Bishop, Bishop, Rev,Pastor etc can do that you can’t do. We’re all equal before God.

  9. MaitamachicinLA

    November 21, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    @Fahola’s lover. I agree completely. Change is inevitable regardless of how much it is resisted. I’m also Catholic btw and have always been iffy on the confession thingy, but if you decide to be Catholic instead of Muslim or Buddhist (freedom of choice btw), you have to abide by their rules. So I obey the rules of the Catholic church.
    I really like this Pope. He’s very progressive and very close to how I imagine Jesus would have been, if He walked the earth today.

    @Bruno, there’s nothing like sin? I’m so happy everyone is ignoring you and not taking your bait today. Attention wh**e! lol
    Yea, we’ve being socialized to see things as either right or wrong e.g if you socialize a 1 year old to cringe and become embarrassed whenever they hear the word potato, as they would, the f- word, by the time, that child is 10yo, “potato” ceases to be a word that is socially acceptable in polite conversation and becomes a swear word. I get that.
    However, you mean to tell me that in your whole 12 years on earth (surely, you can’t be more than 12yo), you haven’t realized that forces bigger than you exist; Some of which are evil and some of which are good? Dude, do more research, broaden your mind biko.

  10. Miss Pee

    November 21, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    My big brother Jesus did that 2,000 years ago, I’m justified by His sufficient Grace?????? People read the Word of God and Know God personally to avoid being misled.

  11. ZEEZEE

    November 21, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Anytime I see a post about Catholicism in a blog or other medium where it is not directed at Catholics, I wonder at the intention of the poster. I also brace myself for harsh comments about being misled.
    You say you are tolerant, and are not a homophobe, trans-phobe etc, but you are more than ready to condemn a religion based on their beliefs? It’s okay, go to heaven and leave us to practise what we understand to be true. Take off your jewelery and wear natural hair to church, leave us to believe in confession and the power of priests to absolve sin.
    Speak in tongues as you like, and leave us to sing in latin.
    Collect tithes diligently, and leave us to have our harvest and Bazaar.
    Use all your contraception and leave us to choose not to.
    Cover your hair if you like, or don’t. Wear makeup if you like, or don’t.
    That is tolerance. And all this back and forth will not lead any of us closer to heaven.
    and for Bruno, you have the right and mental capacity to choose not to believe in God, but I want to promise you that not even one person who already believes in God will have doubts because of what you post.

  12. Rani

    November 21, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Catholic Priests dont forgive sins. They “absolve you of your sins”> Read the Pope’s letter well enough. It says “absolve” not forgive. That caption/headline is misleading.

    Excerpts from the Pope’s letter “I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to ABSOLVE those who have committed the sin of procured abortion…. “.\

    People really do need to know that the media can be very misleading. Don’t believe everything you see in the media

  13. Xoxo

    November 21, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Seriously??? The right to forgive abortion?? Lol. I can’t even stop finding this funny. So all those who have come for confession after aborting before passing this rule or whatever they are calling it what did the priests do? Turn them back and say their sins are not forgiven? Does the person go back home feeling like they are an outcast in the sight of God and have been rejected? So there’s a possibility that there are still “sins” which they’ve told them not to forgive or what?? I’m really confused about this.
    Maybe our bibles our different sha cos my own bible says all sins are forgivable except blasphemy against the holy spirit. So what’s the point in forgiving some and leaving out the others?

  14. gbaskelebo

    November 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Hmmm…. the magisterum is under siege, first scenerio a retired pope (Benedict XVI) now Pope Francis introducing the plenary indulgence for the “passage of the Holy door” in the year of mercy, now this? to forgive abortion! what happened to pro-life? this is an act committed with the intention to kill, but who am I to judge ? “He who is without sin should cast the first stone” Kudos Pope you just showed us the point where Judgement meets mercy, in plain words forgiveness!

  15. Naomi

    November 21, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    I posted something defending the church, but BN never posted it. Deleted a post defending Catholics also . Wow

  16. tunmi

    November 22, 2016 at 1:19 am

    This would have been so timely for Zika

  17. Fatima

    November 22, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Me I am not understanding. So the world has come to a point where a human being can forgive what God Himself condemned?

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