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. Ban Islam

    Enough already about disgusting catholic church. Even mentioning those pedophile brings a vomiting reflex in me. Ban organized religion! Put priests in jail! God bless atheism!

    August 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Lalo

      God Bless you!

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

      Very funny with your God bless atheism! Just to let you know– condemning an entire group of people just makes you look foolish.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Kyle

      catholics condemn themselves by being part of the cult in the first place. If hell existed they'd all go there. ALL OF THEM.

      They deserve it.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • gerald

      It's easy to see how communist atheistic russia arose with posters like this and killed tens of millions of Christians. And we wonder if it could happen today. Plently of Atheist peds out there dude.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  2. KC

    Kyle–why are you so sngry about the Catholic Church?? You don't know for sure that God doesn't exist any more than they know He does! So don't be so smug.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Sue

      Kyle can know for certain that a god with such characteristics as are ascribed to it by Catholics does not exist, with complete certainty. That is different from a more general certainty about the non-existence of any god.

      And frankly, anyone who still believes in any sect of Christianity these days is just very stupid. That's all there is to it.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • KC

      Sue–it is quite evident that you are no scholar regarding the Catholic Church. I stand by my comment. Come back when you learn to make logical comments.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • KC

      Oh and by the way, Sue–Kyle stated very simply in one of his many posts that God doesn't exist–there was no mention of any particular religion in that post. Here's the bottom line for him and for you--He can't know that God doesn't exist any more than someone else can know for sure that He does.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • KC

      Sue–it helps to have a depth of understanding about something before you criticize it–otherwise you do yourself and your argument a disservice. Of course, the ultimate sign of foolishness in any argument is stooping to name calling. If you don't care about the Catholic Church, that's your choice. No one minds.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • CM

      You don't have to believe in the Catholic Church to believe in God. The Catholic Church is just one big lie and they manipulate the ignorant masses for power and money and to molest little boys!

      August 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Kyle

      KC, read the bible.

      Want some education on the matter? Read this:


      It'll explain everything, so I don't have to. You have no idea how foolish you make yourself look by defending religion, especially the catholic corporation.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Sue: Seriously, what is your problem? A little decorum wouldn't hurt, would it? Especially since KC is being considerably polite to all your venom.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • fred

      I have never received a reply from Sue have you? Can one have Tourette's syndrome online while typing @#^$#% oops

      August 19, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • J.W

      All that I have really seen Sue say is just "God isnt real. Christians are stupid" without any more detail than that.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • tallulah13

      JW, she's like the atheist version of "Faith". There's a lot of anger in Sue, and I hope she finds a way to let it go before it chokes her.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • J.W

      Yeah I can see that tallulah. I am not sure if she is as funny as faith. They are both kind of funny yet kind of scary at the same time.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • gerald

      CM, you sound like a protstant. Check out reformation dot com or do a search for stop baptist pedophiles. Do a search for Phil Jenkins (a protestant) who says that the problem is as big or bigger in prot churches. You non-Catholics who like to point fingers need to clean up your own house.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  3. Lalo

    Americans, for most part, are protestants, so I'm not surprised about the negative comments. The lack of knowledge about the catholic church and its catechism is amazing. We all should forgive one another and yes, abortion is a sin, you're killing an unborn human being, but of course, in american drugs, abortion, night out girls screwing different guys/girls, it's all normal. Repent and turn your face to Jesus. God Bless you all.

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

      I guess according to you...boys have no responsibility in reproduction.....just the "girls"...frankly, women is the correct word..

      August 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • XYZ

      It was Bishop Sheen who said something to the effect, about 100 people hate Catholics, but millions hate what the think Catholicism stand for.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Jess C

      Why is a fetus more important than a viable human being? Are you equally angry at the innocent people who die in wars or other human atrocities? Do you pay to support other people's unwanted kids who can't afford medical care of food? If so, good for you. If not, it's none of your business what a woman chooses to do with a pregnancy and certainly not a government issue. What is "sinful" is the hypocrisy....force women to have kids they don't want yet whine about paying taxes to care for the children once their born.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Kyle

      Sin? lol

      That's a man-made word. god is man-made as well.


      August 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • cindy

      You need to go back to school (health class) & learn again. You don't have to be a "women" to get pregnant. I've read of many young girls & see on the the tv EVERY DAY who have gotten pregnant not having their periods yet & STILL gotten pregnant. So get your facts right lady. & get over yourself.

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

      @cindy: Really? That's where you're going? It's ok to generalize and condescend to women of the world by calling them "girls" because some women who are underage can conceive? Really? That's what you take issue with? You have no issues with your own kind being called basically slu-ts because they have the same se-x that men do? Wow.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • gerald

      Jess C,

      Your post is irrational. You talk about viability, so when should a woman be able to abort her child. 5 minutes before birth? 5 minutes after? 6thmonth, 20 weeks? Children have lived at 20 weeks and science will make it sooner. The fact is that viability is not what makes us human. Our DNA does and we have this at the moment of conception. Women can choose not to have kids. It's called abstinance.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  4. hmanity01

    I love all the other "christians" on here who condemn catholic's for not following the bible....when really they do....and while I read their judgment I can feel the disapproval and certainty that they are incorrect in their beliefs. Bottomline....how can anyone believe that the bible is the word of the creator of the universe??? It just doesn't make sense. Protestant christian’s are just as hard-lined as catholic christian’s when it comes to their core beliefs. Example...giving women the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • J.W

      I love how you refer to the rest of us as "christians"

      August 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar Almightily

      hmanity01stated, "I love all the other "christians" on here who condemn catholic's for not following the bible"

      Why do you think there have been so many splits and/or divisionings of Christendom? Intertwining sophistications of the seculrists within religionists make for strange bedfellows, leading to current day trends of stupid silliness and outright pruning of the poor in spirit folks.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Stevie7

      I've yet to meet one person who follows the bible exactly. It's impossible, since it contradicts itself in other places. Everyone just comes up with rationalizations why they don't follow the parts that they don't like. I've yet to come across a faith that doesn't mold the bible to fit their own ideologies.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  5. Thinquer

    Dial direct, Jesus directed his followers to pray directly to the Father , through him. Never did he direct anyone to
    confess to priests, (which by the way the original Christian congregations never had). Dial direct.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Fred Heimann

      I was going to correct you on the error of your statements but then thought better of it. You don't know what you are talking about and telling you what both scripture and history tell us would be a waist of time. If I don't know anything about a subject I look it up before I speak about it.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Kyle

      jesus also said he'd return within the time of the generation of the people he was speaking to. By my clock, that means he's two thousand years late. You'd better read your bible instead of agreeing with everything some pastor has to say.


      August 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • jimtanker

      No, Jesus didnt direct people to do that. It was written in a book. There was no jesus.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  6. Dr. B. Good...

    In other news... Catholics are asking priests to come forward and confess their pedophilia.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  7. CSnord

    Well, that is a start. Step two needs to be to allow all priests to grant absolution all the time. Step three is where the church starts encouraging abortions - the world definitely needs fewer people.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • 4mercy

      "Thou shalt not kill." It's one of the 10 Commandments. A b o r t i o n is k i l l i n g a child! The church will NEVER approve of this!

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

      Which ten commandments? Exodus 20 or Exodus 34?

      August 19, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  8. David Johnson

    Abortion is an important part of the family planning toolbox.

    If abortion is illegal, women will seek back alley remedies.

    We, as a society, must take away as many of the reasons women seek abortions as possible.

    We need to make adoption easier and make it financially possible for a woman to keep and care for her baby.

    Obama has a program to do this. More needs to be done, but with the Republicans controlling the House, funds won't be forthcoming. But, there may be money to force women to carry an unwanted child to term.

    Most of all, we need to make birth control available free of charge, to all women. The health care bill passed in 2010 (Obamacare) does this. We need to educate the women on these birth control methods. Remember, the best way to prevent an abortion, is to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

    Psalm 127:3 – Children are a gift of the LORD

    Hmmm... Well, the bible says it, so I believe it. Children are god's gift!

    Notice how god doesn't check to see if a woman is capable of raising a child, before he gives a baby to them?

    Women in poor countries bear children, only to have them die, because Mom has no food.

    Women addicted to drugs are given babies, when they are totally incapable of taking care of themselves, much less a child.

    Girls are blessed with a baby they don't want. Why are babies given to women who don't want them?

    If god would be more careful with giving out gifts/babies, abortion wouldn't be needed.

    The Christian god is said to be all knowing (Omniscient). If this is true, then god would know the gift (a child), that He is giving, will die.

    And remember, there are a lot of women, who god refuses His gift. They would be overjoyed with god's gift. No abortions in their homes!

    God works in mysterious ways. It's almost as if He doesn't exist... I guess He is just really, really hidden.

    We should start real $ex education in school. Not abstinence only. Real education about the use of birth control. The Religious Right wants only abstinence taught. But then again, the Religious Right wants the kids to learn about talking snakes and trees that impart knowledge and eternal life. *sigh*

    We will never totally eradicate abortions. Only a god could do that, and he either does not care, or does not exist.


    August 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Pepe John Paul

      To quote the movie Parenthood, "You need a license to drive a car, you need a licensed to catch a fish, why wouldn't you need a license to have a baby?"

      August 18, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Wow!...are you misled! Stop misleading our young people! Let's teach them morals! Let's teach them that casual intimate relations are immoral. Let's teach them personal responsibility BEYOND putting on a c o n d o m or using birth control! OMgosh...I can't even believe you wrote all that junk....let alone believe it.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Justsayin'

      Strange rant David, and I'm a liberal (who thinks abortion is wrong and that morality should be taught more to the kids, but is still in favor of a woman's right to free agency)

      August 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Non-Believer

      This is more in response to "4Mercy"

      Really? His post here makes more logical sense than any of the biblical writings. Put your bible aside and just think critically for a moment.... If your god is all-knowing and he gives a drug addict a baby, he must be an incredibly stupid god if anything....

      August 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You said: "Wow!...are you misled! Stop misleading our young people! Let's teach them morals! Let's teach them that casual intimate relations are immoral. Let's teach them personal responsibility BEYOND putting on a c o n d o m or using birth control! OMgosh...I can't even believe you wrote all that junk....let alone believe it."

      Several studies have been done, showing abstinence does not work. All the virginity pledges and purity rings are of no value.

      If my daughter had decided (maybe she did?) to become intimate with one or a thousand people, I would not have wanted her to collect children. I love her and would not have wanted her to ruin her life. She was told, she could have birth control, if she decided there was a need. She grew up just fine. She has a degree. She is a freethinker. I am proud.


      August 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Sasha

      To "4Mercy: Sorry, but you are the one that is misled. While "teaching your kids about morals" is on its face a good idea you are completely ignoring the reality of life. "The young ones don't always do as they are told". Ring a bell? You may not have experienced teenagers but, as a rule, they will try things that are not good for them. It is called "growing up". You would ignore the teenage years as "learning curve" just so you could have your idealogy. While you can teach at home whatever you want I don't want this silly ideology taught as an education. It is our job as adults to acknowledge reality and tell our kids "look, if you cannot not do this, here are a few things you need to know so that your deeds do not ruin your life". It appears that you are handling teenagers as adults, which they are not. They have no idea but think they know everything. Very much like you do. Do we need to ask how old you are?

      August 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Jess C

      Very well articulated!

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

      @David: Spot on as usual. You're right. Abortion must be part of the conversation because if we give a damm about the health of our women, we must provide an alternative to back alley abortions or forced pregnancy. We must provide legal, safe, affordable abortion care.
      @4mercy: I actually agree with you that we need to teach more than putting on a condom or taking a pill in terms of se-x ed. We need to teach our kids how to confront those feelings of emerging se-xuality, what to look for in a partner, how to know they are ready for se-x, that se-x can be a good thing... a VERY good thing, that there isn't only one way to have se-x... etc etc There is much much more to se-x ed than we are doing now. But we cannot leave out either prevention care like condoms, birth control, mas-tur-bation OR the emotional and social issues associated like regret, fulfillment, self-esteem, acceptance (what someone might class as morality). But we are at a sad impasse put up by evangelicals and Catholics and other christians and muslims and jews and conservative parents who do not want such a comprehensive class taught to their kids. To some extent it's understandable that a parent will want to teach their own children their viewpoint of what is acceptable about se-x and what isn't. We all have our own ideas and feelings that are important to contribute. But that should never get in the way of the health and education of children who are going to have se-x. People often ignore that or think it's some kind of liberal trope. But it's a fact of life that your children will have se-x. You did, didn't you? And if we do not teach them how to be safe physically and emotionally in this world of HIV/AIDS, internet stalking, and anti-gay bullying, it's completely our society and ourselves to blame. There has to be a combination. And the puritanical, religious guilt trip of abstinence-only, male/female, missionary position se-x ed has not worked. It will never work because it does not address the reality of our situation as people who are all different who are going to have se-x.

      August 19, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  9. gary

    Catholicism is an ancient cult, formed centuries ago, popes were often brutal and corrupt. All the rules, rites,symbols, sayings, rituals are all made up! For what? Chicken guts in a bag and swing it over your head and scream, you'll get the same results if you believe in the bag-o-guts ritual! Pope should live by Luke 18:22, Luke 12:33 and Matt 19:21.

    It's all pretend and myth, made up to control the mindless masses. Remember the Spanish Inquisitions?

    August 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Justsayin'

      Right, everyone that believes is so stupid, and you, you are so smart, you saw this thing on the history channel one time and they are all idiots and you are not. Please.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Fully Monty

      NO ONE expects the SPANISH INQUISITION. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uprjmoSMJ-o

      August 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  10. Pamela Corscadden

    Interesting, seeing as how the church doesn't allow a woman to use birth control but doesn't approve of abortion. I grew up a Catholic but started questioning their "rules" at a young age. They use fear to control people. I believe in Jesus, but I don't think he would agree with what is going on with the church today. His message was peace, and to be non-judgmental. People need to wake up and stop letting religion and government brainwash them into accepting all of these rules without question. By the way, I don't agree with abortion, but it's because I feel in my heart that killing is wrong in any form. I'm not against it because someone else tells me it's wrong!

    August 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Maybe you should consider getting back to the Church and not be misled by everything the liberals in the world tell us is "just fine". You CAN tell someone that a b o r t i o n is wrong. You CAN believe and be a faith-filled member of the RCC. You can take all what the RCC endures as suffering and prayer about how it fits into God's will for all of the faithful.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • 4mercy

      ...*pray* about...

      August 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Sue

      Yeah, 4mercy, all that suffering that your personal loving god wills -he must be quite the as-shole. Good thing he doesn't exist.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • everymom

      You nailed it. No birth control + no abortions = more people to give money to the church. Quite a racket.

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

      Whether or not you believe God exists does not change the truth. The truth is suffering was brought about by man not God. You simply choose to ignore this truth. Truth is that God has revealed His plan and that plan eliminates suffering. You simply choose to ignore this truth also. Is that ignore................ance or what?

      August 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • J.W

      i want to see Sue's response. I bet it will be brilliant.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • cindy

      You nailed it. And read my mind. "No birth control + no abortions = more people to give money to the church. That is so **cked up. They ain't worth it. A friend co worker of mine told me today they have, nope. You aren't a member of OUR church, we can't help you. sorry. That's CR**. You go to any other church. They will be more than happy to assist you. Maybe not with $$ but will try to in some form to get you a sack of food at least.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • fred

      Not sure what church you are talking about but check around for the right one. We have churches all around here that help and feed those in need. Food is never an issue and such families are looked after. Now, where we cut people off is when they are abusing the help. We also give vouchers to the local food stores and pay utility bills. If the situation continues we send a group out to see why a family continues to strggle. No one gets turned away unless they refuse to help themselves or are abusive.

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

      Not sure who your math teacher was but I can take a guess. The correct formula is: you + Jesus = hope

      August 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  11. Kyle

    The catholic corporation doesn't follow the doctrine of the bible anyway. This isn't anything new, changing rules and all. There are books in the bible that are missing. The bible itself references these books, but the corporation known as the vatican had them removed.

    Not that any of it matters, the bible is full of false and contradictory information. Anyone who believes in it needs to be evaluated for a mental disorder. There is no god. Never has been, never will be. Wake up.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • musa jallow

      kyle you are mistaken if you go to dr or engineer who is not qulified and educted do you conlude that there is no dr or engineer?
      its true the bible is corruptted by these same men but its original is from God or Allah. the only on corruted or true scripturee from God without any mistakes/contradictions or scientific errors is the final and last testemanet or Quran
      please check it out at http://www.scienceislam.com or http://www.allahsbook.com or http://www.miraclesofthequran.com
      please resaerch for your self about the existence of God or Allah http://www.evidencesofcreation.com

      August 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • gary

      Well said! Atheism is myth understood. Peace

      August 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • musa your hair

      So how come your big powerful skydaddy lets his book get changed? Must be some weak god you musa made there yo.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Mack

      I am a 'Cafeteria Catholic' to say the least as are probably at least 95 out of ever 100 practicing Catholics in the USA. We keep the good and discard the rest. We use condoms, the pill, etc. and aren't even concerned about Vatican politics and rules. However, Kyle needs to get his facts straight. The King James version took out many books that are still in the Catholic Bible and not vice versa. Those removed books are readily available in any good book store and are referred to as The Apocrapha (sp) which is a compilation of the books removed by the Church of England. Also, I know of several Catholics who have had abortions and no one cares and they were not excommunicated.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Kyle

      musa. Do some real research. Apologists are nimrods that interpret the bible to meet their own beliefs.


      THE END.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  12. Rob

    Now, how about they start encouraging child molestation confessions, to the police.

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

      Nice one, Rob. Right on the money !!!!!

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

      There are good and bad people in the world. Priests don't become pedofiles – pedofiles become priests - and it's not just within the Catholic faith that this occurs. Google it.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Rob

      Didn't say it was just in the Catholic church, but they were the ones who spent lots of time and money covering it up.

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

      and at the same time being sanctimonious and claiming they were the moral leaders of the world.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  13. Geekalot

    Here is a bit of funny irony. I met a couple of typical California surfer-dude types who had graduated from university and were travelling Europe. We got along OK and decided to journey together for about a week while in Rome. They got wind of an invite-only speech being given by Pope John Paul (this was back in the early 90's) and decided to see if they could get in. I decided to tag along and as luck would have it we did get in by just pretending we were part of the crowd waiving their little papers. So the Pope says his bit in 7 or 8 languages and then walks up the center aisle crossing himself and occasionally shaking a person's hand. As luck would have it I was seated on the aisle and got to shake his hand. Go figure...the atheist who wasn't even invited shook the Pope's hand. And to make this story better, one of the two guys I was with offered the Pope a two-fingered peace sign and said "Peace, Dude." to the Pope. LOL.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Anon


      August 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Geekalot

      @Anon....perhaps irony isn't quite the correct word. Entertaining isn't quite right either. There IS irony in the fact that the guy who didn't give a rat's ##s about the Pope not only got to see him, but also shook his hand, something millions of Catholics would love to have done.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  14. Church Teaching?

    As a Catholic- we believe that all sins can be forgiven in confession. I have never heard that because of an abortion a priest could not forgive your sin. In fact, I remember being taught, that if sorry any Catholic priest can forgive the sin of abortion. I feel like this article doesn't fully understand Church teaching, and might be misinterpreting the meaning behind what has actually been said. Confession is about healing and repentance- a truly sorry person is never refused absolution.

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

      Check the catechism.

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

      Where in the bible does man have power to forgive people of sins?


      Seriously, you catholics aren't very bright. the ritual of the church is completely backwards.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • jose

      you are correct- i think the church is emphasizing this for the benefit of young people that they may be encourage to come to confession and find healing and forgiveness. Not as stating new doctrine.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Tom

      John 20:23

      August 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Pizzle

      When Jesus told Peter that those absolved are forgiven and those held bound would not be forgiven.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Pablo

      Actually, Kyle isn't very bright. It's in the chapter of John.
      While the Catholic Church is far from perfect, most of the anti-Catholic posts I've found on here seem like they're from idiots or children. After studying Christianity and its origins for years, I've found that most people who post on CNN.com don't even have an elementary education on Christianity, Catholicsm or its origins.

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

      Jesus also said that people who get married will not see heaven. You highly educated people must have missed that part of the bible as well.


      By the way, John 20:23 was for APOSTLES, not anyone else. Way to take yet more scripture out of context. Typical of believers. You people obviously don't know what you're talking about.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  15. Lisa

    How does it work if you kill a baby you may be reunited with the church but if you become divorced (no harm to anyone) you are not reunited?

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

      why would anyone want to be part of such a boring cult in the first place? It's a waste of time.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Pepe John Paul

      You can be reunited with the church after divorce if you have your marriage annulled...

      August 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  16. Really?

    Baby killers can all be pardoned, and go to Heaven, all thanks to the Great German Shepherd.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  17. grofys

    you confess first, father of child rapists around the world.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  18. Tom

    Catholic baiting is the anti-Semitism of the liberals.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  19. Fuyuko

    I don't think I could ever go tell a priest my sins. what's wrong with going directly to god?

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

      God doesn't exist.

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

      Because God has better things to do than to listen to you b itch about your wrongdoings.
      If you got something to confess, take it up with a priest. That is what they are there for.
      To ask God to hear your confession, is like asking Him to run out and get you some toilet paper.
      God is not your servant. You got a confession to make, get your a ss to church.
      God is not very pleased with the protestants. Greedy and self-centered little a ssho les that they tend to be.


      August 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • FIRE

      Go to Hell, Kyle.

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

      Totally agree with you! I don't need another man to intercede for me

      August 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      Fire... better things to do.. like let people stave to death i Africa again... what a wonderful supernatural being you have invoked. The money spent on the catholic recruitment campaign in Spain would have been better spent in Africa.

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

      It's the same – in confession you are telling your sins to God. Through his ordination the priest absolves you of the sin – so you know you are forgiven. But talking to God directly works too. For Catholics is just a matter of utilizing a beautiful sacrament – one in which Jesus went to the cross.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • J.W

      I think Fire is wrong. God is the ultimate authority when it comes to forgiving sins. Not a member of clergy or anyone else.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Priests are excommunicated for abusing minors. Catholic priests are the least likely clergy people to abuse children out of any denomination. And for those who think the abuse of minors is a religious problem, consider that the occupations such as teachers and coaches have exponentially higher rates of abuse, and the person most likely to abuse a minor is a family member.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • sabine

      what have you been smoking?

      August 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Rob

      Lately they haven't been excommunicated, just moved around from parish to parish.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • BobZemko

      Yeah, just keep repeating the denials to yourself and all will be better . . . you are DELUSIONAL !!!!

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

      ALL catholic priests are into kids. all of them.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Stop spreading lies! "ALL" priests are NOT "into children". A very small percentage of men in the RCC have these issues....issues found throughout society.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      Anon... as others have stated..it is the cover up from the very church that feels it is the moral compass of the world that is the problem. We know abuse goes on and we bring to justice the abusers in other areas of society

      August 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Pizzle

      Kyle – Something very terrible must have happened to you. Peace be with you.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • J.W

      Do you have statistics to show which denominations have greater rates of abuse? Also, they are in a position of moral authority, so more should be expected of them.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Kyle

      Pizzle. Nothing terrible has happened to me, well, except the fact that religion is still allowed to exist.

      Poor people stay poor because they believe god will save them and buy them cars and homes. Humanity would be able to advance at a much faster rate if religion wasn't holding it down. The bible, the koran and all that trash is outdated and obsolete.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Pizzle... Why is it that every time someone disagrees with the Christian theology, it is automatically that the person is either sick, tired, angry, or has had some great trauma in their life? Why is that, I wonder? The truth is that many of us who are Atheists simply looked at the evidence, asked the questions, and found that the answers simply did not add up. The fact is that IF most people look at the whole picture of religion, they HAVE no choice but to question. What happens then, is up to the individual. Some admit the truth, others fall back on the easy road.. Christianity or the church. For me, the deconversion was something that happened very early in my life. I was ten when I began to ask the tough questions, and being from the South, it cost me a few serious "talkings to" from the minister. So, I held my tongue for years and became a closet Atheist until as an Adult, I made a decision to be who I am and to be proud of it. The rest is, as they say, history. Hope this helps.

      August 18, 2011 at 7:29 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.