Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Pope Francis Authorizes Priests to Forgive Women of Abortions

Pope Francis

The Catholic Church has always condemned abortions, therefore excommunicating any individual who has undergone or taken part in giving an abortion. Although there are various exceptions, such as when the mother's life is in danger, when the loss of a baby is unintentional, or rape victims. However, these are still very point of view based and views are very different based on the location or social view on abortions.

But on September 1st Pope Francis has decided is too allow priests to forgive women who underwent abortions during the Church's Jubilee year of mercy from December 8th till November 20th in 2016.* Although I am personally pro-choice I still understand and respect why some religions feel to protect even fetuses or babies from abortions.Though I think it is barbaric, especially, to not allow abortions after rape.

Ultimately this news just furthers how accepting Catholicism is becoming. Rather than being an exclusive religion where only the hardcore individuals are allowed, it is evolving with the different social norms. I believe that everyone should be able to follow whatever religion in whatever method they feel as religion is more ambiguous than set in stone laws that every follower must follow. The way another person follows a religion does not affect another's and I do not see why Catholicism is so restricting when every human is different.

Read the article on CNN here
*Note: Jubilees are certain years when "indulgences" are forgiven, this jubilee has a focus Mercy and forgiveness.


Annika Olives said...

Though I do agree with you that Catholicism is definitely becoming a bit more modern and accepting, I don't agree with the generalization of all Catholics as super traditional or "restricting." I want to bring up the point that, just how people are different, Catholics themselves may differ in their beliefs. I may identify as Catholic, but that does not mean that I believe everything the Bible tells me to believe. In fact, I disagree quite a bit with what the church says, especially when it comes to controversial issues such as these. Like you said, people should and do have the power to use religion more as a loose guide or basis for how to live life rather than a strict set of rules that they must follow.

Lea Tan said...

I agree with Annika's comment stating that not all Catholics are restricting or necessarily follow the exact same beliefs. There are many different rites that make up the Catholic Church, and each originated from a different location in the world which could influence the differences between what each rite believes. All Catholics do not necessarily follow the exact same beliefs; I think that religions provide a basis of morals to follow, but that followers of the same religion will always disagree on something. While I do think that this article shows the evolution of acceptance within the Catholic Church, the word "temporarily" in the title of the article makes me hesitant to completely accept the notion that Catholicism as a whole is suddenly changing its values. I'm curious to see if this new change will last past the end of the Jubilee year, or if it will only last during the upcoming year.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Chris for your post. I agree with the Annika's and Lea's points that Catholics do not "follow the exact same beliefs." In general, I believe that religion has been diverging, and people are now cherry-picking what to support in a religion. Some may feel like these people are not completely faithful to their religion; however, others and I believe that they are simply choosing the updated versions of morality and faith. In class today, Mr. Silton discussed that both political parties may fluctuate their political beliefs, depending on if they have the support/a majority within the national government. Our teacher said something like the Bush administration actually had less state government policies due to their dominance; thus, I believe that "consistency is the hobglobin of little minds," and being proactive in aligning one's beliefs is noteworthy. It is also interesting to note that Catholics around the world have different strengths to the core of the religion, which can be seen in the following link, suggesting that people are not afraid to be inconsistent.
Link: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/american-catholics-clash-church-over-sins-survey-finds-n419406

Religion has a social pressure to stay "traditional," and with social issues like abortion, it is interesting and rather hopeful that Catholicism can expand the number of people it reaches out to. I completely agree with Lea that people will always "disagree on something"; however, in contrast to her point, I feel relieved that Catholicism is readjusting its focuses. This change may only last past the end of the Jubilee year, but I believe more time frames will be brought up to forgive one's "sins." Do you think that the Pope will "absolve [other] sins," such as divorce or homosexuality in the future?

Anonymous said...

The Roman Catholic church over the last few years has been undergoing several crisis that caused its membership and clout to dwindle especially among the younger families around the world. Even the traditional strong base of Catholics such as the Latin Americas has been struggling. The priests sexual abuse scandals, and the more damaging accusations of cover ups have put a real focus into how the Catholic Church and its Vatican administrations are mishandling this moral crisis over the last decade. The result is an ever increasing number of Catholics who feel disengaged, or more appropriately, those feeling that the Church has not been adapting to the more modern society standards and reality. Keep in mind though that the Church in this case has functioned as the moral compass of its million-members around the globe so I don't anticipate sudden and radical changes to happen on this millennial institution. It will not adjust its compass overnight. I do believe however that Pope Francis has been a breadth of fresh air and an agent of change. The selection of the first ever pope from the Americas was also an indication of an ever slight directional change in the way the wind blows for the Church. I do agree with Anika's and Justin's posts where they claimed that essentially the old doctrines of the Church just no longer apply verbatim to today's society. Evolve or become irrelevant.

Now to the actual article - I believe that this is a step in the right direction. Clearly, Pope Francis is appealing to this "more modern masses" of today's society while at the same time, walking a very fine and traditional line with the Vaticans. This particular decree - clemency for the sinners who had committed abortions - clearly does not make sense on its own. What about clemency for those who committed murder and had served their time, ready to re-enter society, what does the Church make of those sinners? But taken in the larger context of the "Year of Mercy" (clearly the Church I believe is not focusing on crimes and punishments with respect to the current law), the pardon of the excommunicated on one of the touchiest subject in today's society - whether abortion is legal and acceptable - allows the Church to assert its position of tolerance and mercy, however temporary. Catholics around the world will take notice. This is the beginning of a new era.