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Vatican official: Pope is not minimizing abortion, instead wants people to feel grace

2015-09-01

Pope Francis has given priests throughout the world the power to absolve the sin of abortion during the next Jubilee of Mercy.

It remains a grave sin, which leads to excommunication from the Church.

MSGR. HUMBERTO GONZÁLEZ
Pontifical Commission for Latin America
"It is not like robbing or stealing something from someone. Life is sacred and its only master is God. It is such a grave sin that the person who commits it faces excommunication from Communion with the Church.”

Precisely because of this seriousness, someone who commits the sin must be absolved by a bishop or by priests who have been granted the authority to do so. Not all priests currently have that power.

MSGR. HUMBERTO GONZÁLEZ
Pontifical Commission for Latin America
"It is not a punishment. It is simply postponing forgiveness a bit to help with reflection. In the same way, committing a misdemeanor is not the same as committing murder. An abortion is delicate. This is life. He is not denying forgiveness. It is just postponed until a guarantee of true repentance, of desire for conversion and change.”

Starting December 8, 2015, and lasting until November 20, 2016, Pope Francis will grant all priests the capacity to give absolution for the sin. The decision isn't meant to minimize the gravity of the abortion.

MSGR. HUMBERTO GONZÁLEZ
Pontifical Commission for Latin America
"It is not minimizing it. What the Pope is doing is empowering people. In a special year like the Jubilee Year, which has a start date and an end date, God's graces are able to rain down in droves. He is making sure no one feels prevented from receiving these graces.”

In a letter sent by Pope Francis today, he says he understands the conditions that lead a woman to make this decision. He adds that it's a moral and existential drama that is very serious. But, at the same time, he recalls that God's forgiveness isn't given to everyone. Rather, only people who confess with a sincere heart may receive it.


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