Pope Francis’ decision to extend priests’ ability to forgive abortion in the confessional will have virtually no effect on American Catholics. Yet, given that Catholics still delivered for the Republican Party in the recent presidential election, this gesture from a Pope who has urged mercy for refugees and the poor could be interpreted as saying that abortion — while still a serious and grave matter — is not the only issue Catholics should be caring about.
The move does not change doctrine about the sinfulness of abortion; it only alters pastoral practice in some parts of the world about how it can be forgiven. Initially intended to apply only during the special “Year of Mercy,” which ended Sunday, the practice is being extended indefinitely.
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[Special Reports by Michael Brown]
Pray always for purity and love
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