Being Catholic without having a funny bone would be a great cross. How else could we read media coverage of the Church if we couldn’t laugh at how bad it is. It really is funny to read the coverage by people who have no clue to what they are talking about.
I found this story that ran on NPR typically bad Pope Francis Announces Window To Forgive Women Who Had Abortions.
The article mentions that the procurement of abortion “triggers” automatic excommunication. But provides no other context to what the Pope is doing and why. No background that some canonical penalties are reserved to the local ordinary as in this case. No mention that at least in the United States that most American bishops have given permissions to priests to remit the abortion excommunication in confession. I have not heard of any diocese that has not done this in America. Not sure worldwide how widespread this permission is given.
Still it is very important context to this story that what NPR calls a “window” is actually long term practice in many places. The Pope has extended this permission worldwide.
Another important aspect is that incurring the latae sententiae excommunication is not something that happens under every circumstance regarding procurement of abortion. Jimmy Akin has an excellent post regarding this along with other information Holy Year Gestures on Abortion and the SSPX: 12 Things to Know and Share.
Now, the Pope’s letter does not mention people who perform abortions, so we don’t know what their status is.
Because it would be so hard for NPR to reach out to someone within the Church for any fact checking at all. To find out that the Canon law regarding this that those immediately involved with the abortion all have the same status regarding this.
MARTIN: So what does this mean for Pope Francis’s larger mandates, Sylvia? Is this, in some way, a gesture to the church’s more liberal wing?
As if the “church’s more liberal wing” thought abortion was a sin at all. They deny it is a sin and that it would require repentance.
Here is the section of the Pope’s letter that pertains:
One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe they they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.
Still NPR’s poorly written coverage is a gem compared to MSNBC’s “Pope says priests can allow this catholic sin”. See GetReligon’s coverage of this.