Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Abortion, absolution, and the pope

Pope Francis has sparked another controversy by permitting priests to absolve mothers who had abortions. To be sure, this isn't a change in principle, but a technical modification of a preexisting principle. As Robert George put it, "The change is merely authorizing priests to grant absolution directly rather than referring the case to absolution by the bishop (in view of the automatic self-excommunication for participating in the killing of a child)."

Mind you, I don't think pastors, priests, or bishops have the authority to dispense forgiveness. But putting that aside, the problem with the pope's action is that it's part of a familiar pattern in which he always sides with the faithless rather than the faithful, with the disobedient rather than the obedient. 

He treats devout bishops, priests, and laity as judgmental, legalistic Pharisees. His sympathy is always for people on the left. Always about liberalizing policies. 

That's why his pontificate has been so demoralizing for pious Catholics. Those who are most dutiful, who struggle to be faithful to traditional dogma and practice, wonder what's the point when fidelity is scorned while infidelity is lauded or accommodated. 

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