Church extends authority to absolve sin of abortion for papal visit
August 18th, 2011
02:13 PM ET

Church extends authority to absolve sin of abortion for papal visit

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Vatican has given authority to priests who are in Madrid during the pope’s visit there to give absolution to women who confess to having had an abortion - and has empowered priests to lift excommunications for such women.

Typically, only certain priests have the power to grant absolution for the sin of abortion and to lift excommunications that have resulted from terminated pregnancies, according to a Vatican spokesman.

“All the priests that are administering the sacrament of confession during World Youth Day have the general authority to give absolution from the penalty of excommunication for abortion if someone comes to confession… if someone has this need,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi told CNN on Thursday, referring to the event that brought Pope Benedict XVI to Madrid on Thursday for a four-day visit.

Madrid Archbishop Antonio María Rouco Varela announced the extension of such authority to more priests in a statement on the archdiocese's website, saying the move was made in hopes that "all of the faithful who attend the celebrations of the 26th World Youth Day in Madrid can more easily attain the fruits of divine grace, that the doors to a new life open for them."

The church has set up 200 confessional booths in a Madrid park for priests to hear confessions in.

Varela said the Roman Catholic Church “has conferred to all the priests legitimately approved to hear sacramental confessions, who are in the archdiocese of Madrid during August 15 to 22, the delegated power to remit during the sacrament of penance the excommunication… corresponding to the sin abortion, to the faithful who are truly sorry, imposing at the same time a convenient penance.”

Benedict’s Spain visit coincides with a weeklong series of religious events that the Roman Catholic Church organizes every three years.

Lombardi said that the Vatican often extends authority to absolve certain sins and to lift excommunications at big papal events. Any woman who knows that the church considers abortion a sin and goes through with the procedure is automatically excommunicated, Lombardi said.

"This is not only for women," Lombardi said. "If a man has given the pressure on the women to do an abortion then he's guilty in the same way."
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Spain said that the extension of priestly authority around abortion applies only to priests who are in the Madrid archdiocese for World Youth Day festivities.

On Thursday the pope was greeted by a large crowd of followers, including youths from all over the world, but his visit was not without controversy. With Spain suffering a deep economic crisis and nearly 21% unemployment, the amount that the pope's visit is costing the country has been top news in recent days.

The pope arrived in Madrid as protests took place in the city over that cost. The economic crisis has previously sparked protests in the country.

- CNN's Al Goodman and Mariano Castillo contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Abortion • Catholic Church • Spain

soundoff (1,031 Responses)
  1. xalspaero

    the RCC is a blight upon humanity.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Dave 666


      August 18, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Joseph

      So if you think that the "RCC is a blight upon humanity" then why did you open to read this article? Why did you bother? I mean it does not effect you? Or maybe you have some agenda?

      August 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Kyle

      Joseph, yes. The agenda is to get rid of religion. Outlaw the garbage.

      Just because you're a blind sheep supporter doesn't mean we aren't allowed to read an article and speak our minds about it.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • TheWholeTruth

      Mankind needs religion.

      Destroy the religions we have now and the people will just invent new ones.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Kyle

      Truth, you have a valid point. These sheep need a reason to start wars. When we run out of oil, they'll go back to the crusades.

      August 18, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Jesus

      Is Herr Ratzinger (aka the Pope) also absolving loyal and former Hitler Youth members (like himself) from any sin?

      August 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  2. Retios

    The bible should not be taken literally, i was raised a catholic but i only take the values from it. Whoever takes it seriously is a fool, this is silly lol. Also just look up into the stars.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      What would it take to make you take it literally? Because if you can't, then you can't say you believe any truth to it. And if you don't believe any truth to it, then you are saying that God is a lier. But according to Christianity, God cannot lie. So, at the moment, you serve mammon, but what would it take to make you serve God the father of Jesus.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Retios

      the answers to the universe are there, there is no need for fictional characters and fairytales.Besides religion just causes conflicts

      August 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Retios

      the values i took from it " Threat everyone else as you would like to be treated" i dont know what you are asking me

      August 18, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      There is historical evidence that Jesus and others from the Bible actually existed. Even atheists like Richard Dawkins admits that. What I'm basically saying is that if you don't think Jesus was who He said He was and that God isn't who He says He is, then how can you call yourself a Christian. Check out the book of Revelations Chapter 3 and look at the church of Laodicea. People who called themselves Christians but mingled with the world are considered lukewarm. Look at what Jesus has to say about it.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      I'm not trying to give you a hard time. I was raised catholic myself. But lived for the world and lightly believed in Biblical stuff. About a year ago I started reading the Bible all the way through so that I could make up my mind and see where I fit as a catholic. I came to the conclusion that many things catholics practice are doctrines of man and aren't in the Bible. Also, during this time, I have come into contact with people that I can tell have the love of Jesus within them. This has undoubtedly convinced me of the truth of the Bible and that we should be looking for a relationship with Jesus and not a religion.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • TheWholeTruth

      Yes, the doctrines of the Catholic Church are the doctrines of man. So are the doctrines of every other denomination and every other religion.

      Including yours.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      Please read my last comment. I'm not part of a man made religion or denomination. I seek and follow my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that is written of in the Bible.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Cody (D.C.)

      Catholics don't take the Bible literally. This is fundamental.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Kyle

      jesus also said he's return within the generation of his followers at the time. So, jesus lied. He never returned when he said he would. Therefore he is not god. god does not exist. jesus also said that those who marry would not see heaven.

      Before talking about what jesus said, maybe you should read the bible first.


      August 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Joe Somebody

      Are you saying the Earth doesn't revolve around the sun? Because that's what the bible says. And since the bible can't lie, that means scientists are wrong and the sun revolves around the Earth? Hmmm...

      August 18, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Frogist

      @TheTruth72: You're part of a religion so you do follow man-made rules. You may not like it, but it is what it is.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Jesus

      You could find those very same values in Greek mythology that pre-dated the Jesus tale.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  3. TheTruth72

    What makes a priest or pope different than any other Christian, that they can absolve you of your sin and other Christians can't? Confess your sins to Jesus and He shall remove them from existence. If Christians believe they have Jesus living within them, then any Christian can go to a sinner and declare that their sins are forgiven.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Normon

      Sorry, as a sinner how do I tell which "Christians" have Jesus within them? Or am I just supposed to trust them?

      August 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      Good question Norman. The ones you see acting like Jesus will be sufficient. Guess the percentage of so-called Christians living in America that is? Yeah....not too many.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Lindsay

      God bless you! U are speaking the TRUTH all of the catholic/ vatican church doctrine is MAN doctirne. They make engraven images of things in heaven like the saints and worship them! which God strictly forbids. Its ok to honor them but not to WORSHIP and pray to. There is no doctrine or scripture in bible which FORBIDS priest from marrying or anything of that nature MAN doctrine. Keep teaching and spreading the TRUTH of the gospel

      August 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Lindsay

      Also so no man can grant your forgiveness of sin! U are to confess to the most merciful benevolent all knowing and limitless God who loves you. The only one in your entire exisistence u can trust with all your heart and soul whethere u believe it or not. How dare the pope excommunicate women who have had abortions God would never turn them away God is love and so is his son. my bible tells me ALL have fallen and fall short of the Glory of God ....ALL not SOME including the popes EX NAZI self!!!!!

      August 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Kyle

      The original ten commandments aren't what they teach in catholocism. The whole false idol thing... lol The bible actually states that no images should ever be made, period. That is part of the original ten commandments. There are two sets of ten commandments actually. The first was destroyed. In the bible god promised to write them again. When he did, he wrote a different set of commandments, breaking his promise. Funny isn't it? your god breaks promises.

      Want the truth?


      There it is.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Retios

      The bible was written by man.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • John

      Sin is a religious invention that doesn't exist and never has.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  4. sardukar

    How much will the indulgence cost ?

    August 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Michal Barcikowski

      It's not an indulgence, it's an absolution.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:37 am |

    to all the negative commenters: remember: abortion stops a beating human heart. really not much different than murder.

    August 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Normon

      Remember, absolution won't restart a human heart.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • BobZemko

      NO ONE has the right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do to her body. Keep out of people's lives.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      @BobZemko I agree. We were given free will. It's what we choose to do with that free will is the main question. Will we use it for good (love) or bad (murder, etc)?

      August 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • D

      Maybe that "beating Heart" should fight a little harder...just saying...

      August 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Pizzle

      It also leaves behind a broken heart. It's not the answer.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Kyle

      We aren't given free will. We were born with it. There is no higher power that gives us anything. We merely exist.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Frogist

      @MKBURN: So everytime a beating heart is stopped it's murder? Does that go for killing in war or in self defense too? People on death row? The children of Somalia? How about the woman who has to carry that fetus around? Is her beating heart important? Apparently not to Rick Santorum. I think we are being selective about which beating hearts are important?
      @Pizzle: That's a lie. Women who make that decision rarely feel any regret because they know what they did was in everyone's best interest.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • Jesus

      Abortion is absolutely necessary. It may stop a heart from beating, but it doesn't terminate a developed brain. The Pope ought to focus on saving poor and hungry people, fully formed creatures, that are dying accross the planet rather than an amoeba sized fetus.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  6. AGuest9

    Considering any killing HAS BEEN "confessible" and "absolvable", this is absolutely nothing new.

    August 18, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  7. Santa Claus

    When will the Church absolve it's own child molesters?

    *is handed a note by Rudolph*

    Oh, it does so everybody? Alright, carry on.

    August 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  8. BJJSchecter

    Makes sense considering they forgive their priests for abusing kids and in some cases even rewarding them with higher positions in the clergy.

    August 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • ROGER

      think this pope is like the majority of priests – celibacy only means no physical relations with the opposite gender

      August 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  9. NOo..oON

    "The Vatican has given authority to priests who are in Madrid during the pope’s visit there to give absolution to women who confess to having had an abortion..."
    Just out of curiosity, what happens if the absolution is done outside of Madrid? Is it invalid? a false absolution? Is that a sin for the priest? Maybe they give out absolution certificates, like those Certified Diamond Rings ©
    Maybe, the power goes with the priest, so if a priest happens to pass through Madrid at the right time, he gets the power to absolve the sin of abortion. Perhaps, there's a spell or gesture needed. No, that would require training, so that's probably not the case. Maybe they need to be a certain level of Cleric.
    Can these women get their absolution verified later just to be sure it took hold? What happens if someone gets absolution from a fake priest; do they go to hell for it.
    So many questions...

    August 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • ajk68

      Your post shows a huge amount of bigotry.
      All your "questions" only serve to reveal your ignorance.

      >> Just out of curiosity, what happens if the absolution is done outside of Madrid?
      >> Is it invalid?
      No. It would be valid as long as the penitent did not know the priest did not have the faculties to absolve the excommunicaiton.
      >> a false absolution?
      See above.
      >> Is that a sin for the priest?
      >> Maybe they give out absolution certificates, like those Certified Diamond Rings ©
      >>Maybe, the power goes with the priest, so if a priest happens to pass through Madrid at the right time, he gets the power to absolve the sin of abortion.
      No. He needs to have faculties to hear confessions in Madrid. Then because of this dispensation he would be allowed to absolve the excommunication before hearing the confession.
      >> Perhaps, there's a spell or gesture needed.
      >> No, that would require training, so that's probably not the case.
      Priests have a good deal of training in hearing confession and also in human psychology.
      >> Maybe they need to be a certain level of Cleric.
      >> Can these women get their absolution verified later just to be sure it took hold?
      >> What happens if someone gets absolution from a fake priest; do they go to hell for it.
      No. As long as the penitent did not know the priest was not allowed to absolve the excommunication, the confession would be valid.
      >>So many questions...
      When you are too bigoted to learn what people believe.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      Thanks. I didn't really expect an answer, and certainly not a useful answer. So I appreciate the information. I don't however argee with the lable of Bigot, but to each his own.
      The thing that seems so foolish, to me anyway, is how can the power, or faculty, of absolution be restricted by time and geography? I would think that if a priest is trained for/in this faculty then he can perform it anywhere and anytime. If a priest does not have the faculty, if I'm using that term correctly, then why would the time, World Youth Day, or the geography, Madrid, matter?

      Oh, and what's the difference between absolution for the "sin of abortion" versus every other sin out there? Why special dispensation for this sin in this place at this time?

      Again, thanks for the info, though.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • ajk68

      >> The thing that seems so foolish, to me anyway, is how can the power, or faculty, of absolution be restricted by time and geography?

      Priests have the power they just don't have the permission. That is where the difference between validity and liceity comes in. Priests exercise their power with the permission of the local ordinary (bishop) and in union with him. Priests are not allowed to celebrate the sacraments as itinerants. This is also useful for establishing who is really a priest. For instance, Joe Smith cannot just show up at a church and celebrate Mass. The pastor must verify Joe Smith has the faculties in the diocese and I believe this is usually done with a certificate or some other communication. You don't want priests just running around willy-nilly.

      >> I would think that if a priest is trained for/in this faculty then he can perform it anywhere and anytime. If a priest does not have the faculty, if I'm using that term correctly, then why would the time, World Youth Day, or the geography, Madrid, matter?

      Faculties are granted by those competent to grant them, they are always constrained by place and time. The faculties for hearing confession (absolving sin) and celebrating Mass are given by the local ordinary (bishop). The faculties to absolve from the excommunication resulting from abortion are also granted by the local ordinary. The pope has universal jurisdiction in this matter and can also grant the faculties. One thing to note is that excommunication is a juridical effect – it says nothing about sin. The excommunication is meant to highlight the gravity of the crime and cause greater reflection by those responsible. Why the pope decided to grant the faculties on this occasion is to make it easier for people who have already taken the step of going to World Youth Day to obtain absolution of their crime and of their sin (one cannot go to confession without first have the excommunication absolved). Otherwise, there could be a little bit of bureaucracy in getting the absolution of the excommunication.

      > Oh, and what's the difference between absolution for the "sin of abortion" versus every other sin out there? Why special dispensation for this sin in this place at this time?
      There is no difference for the absolution of the sin of abortion and any other sin. Some acts have excommunication tied to them as penalties. As stated above, abortion has the penalty of excommunication to highlight the gravity of the crime. The dispensation is for the absolution of the excommunication. So how things will work at WYD is that a penitent can show up to confess an abortion, he or she will be absolved immediately from their excommunication, and they will then go on to make their confession of sin and receive absolution for their sin. Normally, if someone shows up to confess involvement in an abortion, they may have to find a priest who has faculties or come back at a later date (after the priest has received faculties).

      Doctors and nurses who perform abortions are also excommunicated (provided they know about these penalties). Common opinion is that by Church law all the politicians who promote abortion have been excommunicated (provided they know about these penalties).

      Another angle on this whole problem is that the excommunication is only in force if the person knew about the excommunication when they committed they act.

      August 18, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Kyle

      ajk, you like to call people names. You must be a christian.

      You really have no idea what you're talking about though. Just fyi. People who believe in religion are nothing but brainwashed sheep incapable of thinking for themselves.

      I'm so glad I'm not you! : D


      August 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Frogist

      @ajk68: "...there could be a little bit of beaurocracy..." No offense man, but "a little bit"? Really? From the outside, it sure sounds like a whole lot of beaurocracy. I can see why people reject Catholicism because it's like the IRS. Make sure you bring your mass certification forms and file your confession in the proper order to the right department, or you might not get your ex-communication rebate and your full confession refund. I'm sure that's the appeal as well. People who like rules and loopholes and being an-al (no pun intended) will love Catholicism.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • ajk68

      @Kyle: When people show disrespect for other people's beliefs without understanding them it is called bigotry. I pointed out exactly which statements were bigoted (come on! comparisons to Certified Diamond Rings). "You really have no idea what you're talking about though. " Really? And you are an expert? If so, please point out my errors in applying Catholic canon law and moral principles to this situation.

      @Frogist: More bigoted comments.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      I appreciate your explanation of Catholic rules around confession, absolution, etc. I was not aware of who was allowed to do what, where, and when. So the above article does make much more sense in that light. Thank you.

      And although I can understand your accusation of bigotry, I don't think I quite agree. Regardless of how much internal sense the rules make within the Catholic church they still seem quite arbitrary and bureaucratic for something which by definition, I would think, should be spiritual and self-evident, i.e. does God forgive someone for the "sin" of abortion or not. It seems rather silly that all these rules and regulations would be necessary for, what I would guess, is a very personal thing, hence, the comparison to Certified Diamond Rings, arbitrary, unnecessary, or superfluous. However, I can understand you point of view.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  10. ja

    what about child molestation confessions, deal with that

    August 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  11. Mario

    Here's an idea, have every member of the church that has molested and violated a child confess, and then an equal number of people will confess to having an abortion and we'll see who looks like the real monster.

    August 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • John Do

      Tell me, as you look at the ultrasound and see and hear the beating heart of the little baby inside that you're about to abort, you don't feel something. If you don't you're not human.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Frogist

      @John Do: Some people would feel disgust if it's the beating heart of the spawn of their rapist still violating them from the inside. Not every act of conception is a beautiful thing.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  12. Reality

    Said absolution will not erase the significant sin of stupidity as a great percentage of abortions are the result of not taking the Pill daily as spelled out in large letters on the package and/or not using a condom.

    August 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • AGuest9

      According to the church, the use of a condom or the pill is just as wrong.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Sasha

      Best post on here!!! So very true.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • TheWholeTruth

      Using the pill and condoms are sins, too.

      Every sperm is sacred.
      Every sperm is great.
      If a sperm is wasted,
      God gets quite irate.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Frogist

      Wow Reality. Joined the He-Man Woman Haters club, I see. I suppose you never make a mistake with any medications or mess up your routine ever, right? You might also remember that not every woman can be on the pill.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  13. Awkward Situations

    Catholics must have a mas-sive inferiority complex. They are treated like mindless subhumans by their church. They worship and praise and grant imaginary superpowers to their fellow humans in the church leadership. How heavy it must weigh on their logic and rationality to allow other primates to oppress them and allow them to make rules and regulations on just about every part of their daily and intimate life. As a coping mechanism, they push their warped views on everybody non-catholic so that they can try to feel power and superiority over others. It takes their minds off the fact that they let men in dresses control nearly all aspects of their short existence on this earth.

    Stop giving undeserved respect to these "holy" people and letting them control your entire dam-n lives. You worship and revere them like they are gods! They're making fools out of the lot of you.

    August 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Mindless catholic simpletons need a pope. Sheep do serve their purpose though.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Awkward Situations: I kinda like men in dresses... Maybe what those priest guys need is a bit of guy-liner and hair gel. They can attract the goth crowd. They're already into the blood, crosses and suffering.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • gerald

      Your post has no basis in the reality of a Catholics life. I have been Catholic for 52 years and do not feel in any way the way you have described.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics


      ....... I have been Catholic for 52 years and do not feel in any way the way you have described.
      52 years supporting child r ap ists, kudos to you bro!

      August 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • gerald

      Ya that's what I do alright smart boy. Bigot.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Sean

      @ Gerald

      Are you really suggesting every Cathy is just like you? Wow way to generalize there buddy and such ego.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • gerald


      The fact is I know alot of Catholics on more than a superficial level and they would agree with me. I have no more of an ego than someone who is not Catholic, has not set foot in a Catholic Church, but claims to know what Catholic life is like.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • ajk68

      @Awkward Situations: You criticize without any understanding. You are a bigot.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • ajk68

      Priests, bishops and popes do not control our lives. This would be utterly inhuman and no Catholic would stand for it.
      The case is just the opposite, it is sometimes hard to get priests and bishops to step up and take a stand on issues.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • TheWholeTruth

      No, most people don't think terribly much about what they believe. This includes Catholics and atheists and everyone in between.

      Gerald (and many Catholics like him) probably derives comfort from the beliefs and connectedness with the community. Logic and reason is less important to than the benefits he gets from being Catholic.

      None of us have it all figured out.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Kyle

      I love how the believers throw the term "bigot" around. They feel as though they are hurting our feelings. lol

      Get over yourselves hypocrites.You have wasted loads of your time on a god that doesn't exist. The bible makes lots of promises, but not a single one of them has ever come to fruition. Nor will any of them, ever.


      Read this if you think your bible has any meaning. Of course, being believers, I guarantee you're afraid to. You won't read it because deep down you know that the bible is just a work of fiction. Deep down, you know that everything you believe in is a lie. But you're too afraid to admit to it. You're afraid that there is no heaven, no one to save you. But, it's true. Those of us who don't believe in this fairy tale trash are happy with our lives. We work for a living, and we don't expect some invisible sky hostess to do everything for us. We are far more successful because of it. We are happy because we don't live in fear of going to a hell that does not exist.

      Christians do good things because they think it'll get them into heaven.

      Atheists do good things because they're nice.

      Believers, you have a lot to learn, you bunch of disgusting hypocrites. It's funny to watch all of you waste so much of your time trying to get into heaven when in the end, it doesn't exist. The rest of us get to enjoy our lives : D

      August 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      Frogist, yea you're right... totally emo. Self loathing and all.

      August 19, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • Awkward Situations

      Kyle, thanks for that site. Is it yours? I went to it and realized I already had it bookmarked.

      August 19, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • Frogist

      @ajk68: I'm sorry but what you said is a blatant misrepresentation. When has it ever occured that the populace gets to tell the bishops and priests and Pope what to do? And according to you, even though you have this great power over them, they don't listen most of the time. If they don't listen, you have no power over them. I wonder at how people's eyes can be so closed to the world around them.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • ajk68

      @Frogist: You misrepresent what I said and thus your counter-argument is irrelevant. I did not say the people control the priests and bishops – which is what you argue against. I said the priests and bishops do not control the people. Just because the priests and bishops do not control the people does not mean the people control the priests and bishops. Your deduction is illogical.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  14. Rover Serton

    Intesting, Immediate excommunication for women that have abortions. Nothing like the for Priests with children or Nazi's during WW2. The only other thing I know that has immediate excommunication is women wanting to become priests (and those that assist them).

    Now, every priest there can forgive women for making the hardest choice of their lives. What a "feel good" story.

    August 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Graham Reade Jr.

      What a selfish ingrate you are. I seriously hope you are not Catholic or was even raised in the Roman Catholic faith. The Pope, as the Successor of Saint Peter generously opens the treasure of merits and grants a plenary indulgence on a wider scale--rather than just limit it to cardinals and bishops and you mock it by treating it lightly and using it as an insult to women when it brings them to reconciliation with God and the Church. Saving a soul and leading them to Heaven is the best "feel good" story for all. Don't believe me? Just ask women who have already committed abortions and truly regretted their sin for it.

      BTW, men who push abortion for women to commit are just as equality guilty so there rears your anti-women misogynist false accusation. quelle boring.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Graham Reade Jr.

      And while you are on that Anti-Catholic tripe, Jesus Christ is the groom of the Church and the Church is the bride of Christ. If you have a problem with women not being ordained as priest... TAKE IT UP with God the Father, because HE chose his word to be incarnated into the world as a MAN, Jesus Christ. That choice of gender by God the Father was for a reason--which you and I can neither comprehend. If women are to be ordained as priests, how can they be "grooms" of the church while the whole church is the "bride"? Is this your take on modern Catholic theological lesbianism? Don't blame the church for following tradition as accorded by the 2000 years of sacred history and magisterium.... while the Blessed Virgin Mary is the highest revered saint and she also happens to be a female.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Graham Reade Jr.

      TAKE IT UP with God the Father, because HE chose his word to be incarnated into the world as a MAN, Jesus Christ.
      Catholic Rockstar, man wrote the bible not god. Man chose those words. Jesus (IF HE EXISTED) most likely suffered from schizophrenia. His delusion got hima one way ticket to the stake with a nice view over looking the city. The bible serves a better purpose as TP.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Frogist

      Yeah, Rover! What the hell were you thinking? We should all be oh so grateful that the church has stepped on women for years and now is generously letting those vile sinners get a little bit closer to God by wishing away their alledged guilt over having fair reproductive rights. Women priests?! That would make the church a lesbian! And if it's anything the church can't stand, it's priests who engage in gay acts... LOL!

      August 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Kyle

      Graham, nice sheep speech. Seriously. Clap clap.

      Say, where is the pope in the bible? I never found that scripture.

      Oh, and if you want to talk about how great the "groom" is, read this:


      You sound like a muslim.

      August 18, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  15. Frogist

    Quit yer whinin' Spain! Those pope-mobile's and pointy hats ain't cheap!
    On a lighter note... abortions for everyone! Hooray! How many Hail Mary's do you say for an abortion anyways?

    August 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  16. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    Now this is funny, only certain "men" have the authority to absolve sin. Catholiocs are a joke. When I was a christian it didn't take much to see the absurdity in the catholic thinking.

    August 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Timme62

      My thoughts exactly....mightly white of them to forgive the stupid women of their sins.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  17. Graham Reade Jr.

    What would the human civilization be if the Blessed Virgin Mary declined the angel Gabriel and chose to murder the conception of her baby at the womb for selfish body reasons? Be thankful that your mother chose to respect the value of life by keeping you in your womb for nine months since your conception!

    August 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      The human civilization would be just fine. Moving along as it always does. 200,000 years and counting.

      If safe abortion was available at that time Mary would have been the first in line. Instead of admitting she opened her legs to another man besides her husband.. she made up some wild as-s story about a sky fairy who came down and put a baby in her. Imagine to her surprise that everyone believed it! lol. Whew.. close one.

      You all are worshiping a bastar-d child and his who-re mother. Hahaaha.

      Don't feel too bad, he probably never existed in the first place. So you're just worshiping a work of fiction. Silly.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Jess

      You know what's more interesting? The legalization of abortion in the United States led to the significant drop in crime in the 1990's. Instead of unwanted children being raised to become criminals and (probably) end up being killed at a young age anyways, they are saved that horrible life by not being given it in the first place.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      By definition they worship a wh ore and ba s ta rd son.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Kyle

      If my mother chose abortion I wouldn't be here reading your stupidity. That would have been a plus.

      It's a shame mary didn't abort. We could have avoided this christianity myth altogether.

      August 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  18. Bibletruth

    "a convenient penance"
    One hardly knows whether to weep or laugh at anyone who could give these people the place of God in their lives...truly there is no answer to the sin problem in the popes religion, except sin and confess..sin and confess...etc...no overcoming, no stopping sinning...everything just opposite of Christ's religion.

    August 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      The purpose of confession is twofold.

      The person confessing can take the burden of guilt (and responsibility) off of their minds by doing absolutely nothing besides sitting in a box and talking about it secretly with a priest.

      The priest... well, he gets plenty of material for jacking off later on depending on how naughty his congregation is.
      "Tell me son, what color were her panties? Did you do her from behind?... 3 hail marys, and boom! You're absolved of your sins! But just make sure you're reallly realllllyyy sorry about it."

      August 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • gerald

      Clearly you don't have a clue. Overcoming sin is in fact emphasized in the Catholic religion and aides in overcoming sin are given in confession.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Kyle

      I don't ever remember "hail mary" being a means of overcoming sin in the bible anywhere. Just another catholic cult thing I suppose.

      August 18, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  19. Graham Reade Jr.

    Human right is sacred, from it's point of conception and point of natural death. Women who murder their children and men who entice and allow abortion should seek forgiveness for violating one of the ten commandments. I'm glad that the successor of Saint Peter has once again generously allowed the treasure of merits to be opened for the forgiveness of abortion on a wider scale. Any plenary indulgence helps a soul to lessen it's time in purgatory, or worse, avoid Hell.

    August 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Just curious, but does that mean that the life of every person with Diabetes and the life of every fourth person who's had Influenza is not sacred, since they of course are living beyond the point of "natural death"?

      August 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Graham Reade Jr: I don't know anyone who entices women into having abortions. What do they do? Have a two for one BOGO sale? And it's kind of ridiculous having a man condemn women for doing things he absolutely has no idea about. When you can get pregnant, or show some empathy for the women who have to face the issue of abortion, then maybe we can have a conversation.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Graham Reade Jr.

      You said: "Human right is sacred, from it's point of conception and point of natural death."

      A fetus is not a "human". It is a potential human. Until it can survive outside the mother (About 24 weeks), it has no rights. The fetus is a parasite, inside of a human. The woman has the rights. She is alive. It is her body. Therefore it is her choice.

      Even the bible defines life, as breathing:
      "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." – Genesis 2:7 (KJV)


      August 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Normon

      I think you got your units mixed up... they're parasites for ~24 years not weeks. : )

      August 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You have a point. LOL!


      August 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Fuyuko

      so my friends wife who had an abnormal pregnacy with a fallopian tube pregnacy is s a sinner for aborting it? What was she supposed to do? Die.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "so my friends wife who had an abnormal pregnacy with a fallopian tube pregnacy is s a sinner for aborting it? What was she supposed to do? Die."

      If the Religious Right and the Catholics have their way, that would be a probable outcome. Remember, man cannot know the mind of god! God put that fetus in the Fallopian tube for a reason!

      Vote for the Dems and avoid Teabagger domination.


      August 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Fuyuko: Rick Santorum, that authority on women's health, says saving the life of the mother is a "phony exception" to an abortion ban. Yes, they want your friend to die.
      They also want women to bear and raise the child of their ra-pist, even if that's a member of her family because according to Eric Turner (R from Indiana) women might just lie about being ra-ped to get the convenience of an abortion. That's also Michelle Bachmann's position.
      They also want you to be investigated by the state if you have a miscarriage, because who knows whether you caused it on purpose. Can you imagine a woman miscarrying and then these jerks want to throw her in jail?!

      August 18, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Kyle

      Graham, would you like a lesson in the ten commandments? You need one:

      (1) Do not worship any god other than Yahweh.
      (2) Do not make molten gods.
      (3) Keep the feast of unleavened bread.
      (4) The firstborn offspring of every cow and sheep is to be sacrificed to God.
      (5) The seventh day of each week is set aside to rest.
      (6) Observe the feast of weeks.
      (7) All male children must appear before God three times per year.
      (8) The blood of a sacrifice shall not be offered together with yeast, nor shall the sacrifice of the Passover feast be left until the next morning.
      (9) The "first of the firstfruits" of the land are to be brought before God.
      (10) Do not boil a baby goat in its mother's milk.

      Source: http://ebonmusings.org/atheism/10c.html

      You people and your quotes and commandments... and you don't even know what they are or what they mean!!! That's the trouble with you religious hypocrites. NONE OF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, EVER.

      August 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • ajk68

      @fuyuko: This case is handled in Catholic moral reasoning. The baby can be removed as long as there is no attempt to directly kill it and the baby is given his or her best chance to survive. Thus the medical method used is relevant. The fact that the chance for survival is slim to none is unfortunate, but it has no better chance inside the fallopian tube. This reasoning invokes a principle called "double effect." It is probably one of the most difficult moral principles to apply correctly and is often overused by people who do not fully understand it. However, its invocation in this case is correct.

      Looking forward in time, it is possible that we may eventually get to the point where the baby can be removed and have a much better chance for survival. In that case, the moral reasoning present here gains clearer focus.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  20. NOo..oON

    Priests can pickup their Papal PowerUP pill at their local Diocese office. Without this pill any attempt to absolve the sin of abortion will result in an immediate return to the Spawn Point for all Priests.

    August 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics


      August 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      Lol that's seriously what I was thinking too. Pope is clearly a l33t h4x0r.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Kyle

      What's with the pope and his stupid hats? He always looks like he"s dressed for a royal wedding in England. And that look on his face. Like he's looking at a 3 year old boy, naked.

      August 18, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.