I’d be a lot less than honest if I said I was a fan of Pope Francis. as I said once before, his “off the cuff pronouncements didn’t leave me like a James Bond martini: shaken not stirred.” I say that as a political conservative and a conservative Roman Catholic. Having said that, my real points of objection to him are what I think is him viewing the world, especially America, through the lens of an Argentine Peronist. His economic views don’t touch Faith and Morals, so while I find them irritating I am free to take them with a grain of salt. Or even a salt mine.
On the issues upon which he speaks with authority, though, the Pope is Catholic.
Pope Francis will allow Roman Catholic priests to absolve women who have had abortions if they seek forgiveness during the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy, the Vatican announced Tuesday.
The pontiff said he will allow priests “discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it” during the special year, beginning December 8.
This did not set well with feminists, for instance, The Pope’s Unforgiving Message of Forgiveness on Abortion, by a fairly nasty radical feminst named Jill Filipovic.
POPE FRANCIS announced this month that for a year, beginning in December, women who had terminated pregnancies could be granted forgiveness from Roman Catholic priests, instead of facing potential excommunication for their sins. It sounds like a step in the right direction: Mercy for women who have had abortions certainly seems preferable to condemnation.
But mercy may actually be worse. While the pope’s announcement has been hailed as evidence of the church’s new, softer approach, it’s actually the latest example of the modern anti-abortion strategy: Portray women as victims who need to be protected from themselves with laws that restrict abortion rights.
The writer goes on to say that the merely considering abortion, i.e. the killing of a baby, as a sinful act is harmful to women’s rights and it should be everyone who is critical of abortion who is asking forgiveness.
This op-ed is interesting for a couple of things other than watch her wrap duct tape around her head. First and foremost, the Pope upheld the Church’s traditional view on abortion. In the US, this one-time dispensation will have little effect as US bishops have delegated the authority to absolve the sin of abortion to parish priests. This is not the case in some nations and in Pope Francis’s wise effort to not make the burden of repenting and rejoining the Body of Christ too great:
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
He has removed a barrier that prevented some women who had had an abortion from being forgiven and reconciled. Filipovic, and a lot of media, make it seem as though that in the past abortion was not forgiven.
What she doesn’t like is that the woman has to approach confession, as does any other sinner, this is to say with a ‘contrite heart.’ This hearkens back to The Woman Caught In Adultery, where Christ forgives her but tells her to sin no more. If a woman does not truly believe that the abortion she had is wrong she cannot legitimately achieve reconciliation.
The second interesting twist in the op-ed is that usually women who seek abortions are presented by feminists and pro-aborts as victims. They were raped. They were the victims of incest. The father abandoned the mother. The mother can’t have a baby and get on with schooling, career, etc. Here Filipovic takes the opposite tack:
Instead of treating women as adults who make their own decisions, the pope condescends to “all the women who have resorted to abortion,” saying he is “well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision.”
Her message is that abortion is not a sin. There is nothing to be shameful for. That women have abortions, not out of necessity but because they decide that killing their child empowers them. That offering forgiveness for a rational choice makes a woman feel guilt where none is warranted and demeans women.
So we’ve come full circle from “no woman wants to have an abortion” to “dig me, I killed my kid.”
As a conservative, there is a lot about Pope Francis that makes you look askance and pine for the days of Pope Saint John Paul II. On the other hand, on the important issues of Faith and Morals before the Church he has been steadfast and solid. Eventually, the left will figure out Pope Francis is secretly Catholic and the romance will be over.