Many woman have had to make difficult decisions during their lives, and some of those decisions directly affect the lives of their family and the people they love. Abortion is probably one of the hardest decisions a woman will ever have to make. A heartbreaking and harrowing ordeal with emotional consequences that may well stay with her through her entire life. So, who has the right to judge and forgive such a decision?
Pope Francis is making it easier for women and doctors to ask forgiveness for abortion, by allowing all priests to forgive it.
In Catholicism, abortion is viewed as such a grave sin that it can punished with excommunication. But surely no woman takes that decision lightly, or hasn’t thought many times about her actions and the repercussions.
The change is only for the coming Jubilee Year, beginning in December.
However, the rule relaxation will not affect Catholics in England, Wales and Scotland – priests there can already forgive abortion.
The Pope has previously denounced abortion as part of a throw-away culture, saying, “Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as unnecessary,”
There can be few women who would take the decision to end a pregnancy as lightly as throwing food away. Aren’t women more responsible than that, and isn’t the attitude of the Catholic Church demeaning? Assuming that women don’t take abortion as a gravely serious matter, or agonise over the outcome and consequences of abortion, is insulting and hurtful.
If women have to ask forgiveness for abortion, shouldn’t the men who fathered those pregnancies also have to ask forgiveness, for irresponsibly aiding the conception of a child they had no intent of raising?
It takes two to tango.
Is it time the Catholic church stopped making women feel guilty about abortion?