Oh, shit! What a not exactly ready moment, you guys! Papa Francesco just put the world on notice. Today he announced that even the newest and humblest and lowest of his minions–ahem, the average parish priests–can hear and absolve confessions of abortion this coming year.
Much in line with what Pope Francis has been trying to make his mission of serving the people, December 8, 2015 – November 20, 2016 is to be the Holy Year of Mercy.
This gives some members of the Catholic Church a chance to seek forgiveness for something they truly feel to be a sin. As a regular rule, someone who wishes to seek absolution from an abortion must go to a higher member of the church, who then sends a trained priest to her to act as judge and jury as to her abortion story and if she really deserves forgiveness. Why? Are they worried about absolving too many women? Do they want to shame their parishioners? I call bullshit on the whole thing.
One, it’s the Church’s belief to ask for forgiveness and it shall be granted. Now, I understand, there are people who confess without any feeling behind it. But I think that’s probably less common now, because less people go to church, and definitely don’t hit the confessional on Saturday night. As a buffet-style Catholic, I choose to believe God forgives plenty and ultimately it’s between you and him. Besides the point.
Two, I think it’s awful to assign certain priests, undoubtedly one who fits nicely in the Bishop’s pocket anyway, to be the judges. I think it’s awful to make the woman plea to the Bishop in the first place. If she is willing to ask for forgiveness, she is already harboring a lot of guilt. Now she’s got to go to her local hardass (who might not be local at all which requires time to reach his bishopness in the first place) to seek repentance through a different man who has to learn of her plight and judge her. And what if to go-to man is unavailable, does she have to wait for however long until Fr Abortion Absolve-r is ready? Or is there another different man who has to learn about her? And what if he says no? Can she try again? What about a man who is party to an abortion? I bet he can just tell Fr Local Church and it’s all pardoned. Ugh.
Three, I just don’t see this spiraling out of control this year, or ever. Are all the women who’ve ever had an abortion going to come out of the woodwork and tax these parish Catholic priests in the confessionals? Is there going to be an influx of women asking for forgiveness with the same monotone and lack of feeling that I said, “I took the Lord’s name in vain and I was mean to my cat” every confession during my parochial school years? No. I just believe, if you had an abortion and truly want to be forgiven because you feel saddened and guilty because of your faith, then you will go. And only then. Because I never go to confession for having had plenty of hot, dirty sex when I wasn’t married, when I wasn’t even in a relationship, hell, when I was having sex with someone who was in a different relationship. Nope. No confession. I don’t feel guilty, because I’m not close enough to that religion anymore. But the women who are going to be heard during this Holy Year of Mercy… they deserve it.
He’s really been putting the church and its doctrine on blast, and I think this is one great step. Sure, it’s not calling for the legalization of abortion. But the Catholic church is never going to say that’s a good idea, the same way they will never allow gay marriage. At least Frank is openly talking about these issue, without simply condemning them, but instead he is showing compassion towards all people and supporting them the best way the Catholic doctrine allows him.