‘To Those That Were Robbed of Life…’

 

Pope Francis babyTO THOSE WHO WERE ROBBED OF LIFE: the unborn, the weak, the sick, the old, during the dark ages of madness, selfishness, lust and greed for which the last decades of the twentieth century are remembered….” C. Everett Koop, MD

Much has been made of the recent decision of Pope Francis to allow priests to absolve those involved in the grave sin of abortion. Catholics and non-Catholics alike who depend on the major media for what this means might misinterpret his letter. Many outlets are reporting that this decision leaves the possibility that the act of an aborting a child might no longer be a grave sin, or was not a grave sin in the first place. This is not the case.

Let me start with a quote from Pope Francis’s full letter as reprinted by The Catholic Herald UK.

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 that 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.

Forgiveness has always been available to those who have procured an abortion. The penitent had to confess the sin to a bishop or someone designated by the Church to absolve the penitent of a sin that incurred automatic excommunication from the Church.

There is no unforgivable sin in the Catholic Church for to state that a sin is unforgivable is to state that sin is greater than G-d.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the source that should be the starting point for those interested in what the Church believes and teaches.

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”[76] “by the very commission of the offense,”[77] and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.[78] The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

Latae sententiae is a Latin phrase, meaning “sentence (already) passed,” used in the canon law of the Catholic Church. A latae sententiae penalty is one that follows ipso facto or automatically, by force of the law itself, when that law is contravened. The very act incurs excommunication.

The Church has not changed its position on abortion nor has the Church changed its position on absolving a grave sin for those that are truly repentant.

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  1. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    Arizona Patriot:

    I also think that the Catholic practices of confession and penance are an excellent idea. Not to convey grace in a spiritual sense, which is what I understand to be Catholic teaching, but as a means of accountability and instruction. I readily concede that we evangelical Protestants may have erred in departing from this Catholic practice.

    1.  Grace in the actual sense is conveyed.

    2.  If you want to correct the departure from confession, there is a way to do it, but it does have a cost.

    • #61
  2. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Majestyk:

    SoDakBoy:

     How is the giving and accepting of a gift “immoral”?

    This is the fundamentally incongruent point in my mind: God (allegedly omnipotent, omniscient, etc…) created this set of rules. It follows logically that he could alter them.

    If the default setting is “damnation” that condition was created by God’s choice…

    Allow humans to bear responsibility for themselves. This is a bedrock principle of conservatism.

    Here’s how I see it:

    God does allow humans to bear responsibility for ourselves. We are not forced into a loving relationship with God; we are free to accept or reject it.

    We Christians have a lot of colorful language for “damnation”, but ultimately, “damnation” is nothing other than our free choice to reject this loving relationship with God. Assuming God’s great love exists (and I understand people assuming it doesn’t), then rejecting it is such a great loss that it’s no wonder it gets described using “hellish” imagery.

    I certainly don’t want to contemplate the idea that my life is on a set of rails with the default location being “damnation” and the only way out of it is to accept this “gift” that I didn’t either ask for or have any say in.

    Even assuming no God, our lives contain many “rails” we have little say in. Given available consequences, we can choose behavior to optimize our lives accordingly, but we often have little say in the consequences our circumstances initially make available to us.

    • #62
  3. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Could be Anyone: In the case of Christianity it isn’t scapegoating at all.

    Probably worth thinking about the term scapegoating here.  Hitchens uses the term as used in modern vernacular and not in the proper biblical sense.

    Leviticus 16:21-22

    And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall yput them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. 22 The goat shall zbear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and ahe shall let the goat go free in the wilderness.

    The goat does not take away guilt.  The goat is not punished for their sins.  The scapegoat carries their sins away.

    • #63
  4. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: We Christians have a lot of colorful language for “damnation”, but ultimately, “damnation” is nothing other than our free choice to reject this loving relationship with God.

    It’s like telling a child “No cookie until you eat your broccoli.”  As long as the child refuses to eat broccoli the child is damned to life without cookies.

    The child sees that as a horrid transaction forced upon them by a mean, angry parent.  But in the parent’s eyes it is an act of love.

    • #64
  5. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Casey:

    Majestyk: As rational, adult people we have to be willing to accept the fact that as a very real matter we stop functioning and oblivion is the result.

    What is rational about that?

    Lack of evidence to the contrary.

    Would you at least concede that it’s strong possibility?

    • #65
  6. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Casey:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: We Christians have a lot of colorful language for “damnation”, but ultimately, “damnation” is nothing other than our free choice to reject this loving relationship with God.

    It’s like telling a child “No cookie until you eat your broccoli.” As long as the child refuses to eat broccoli the child is damned to life without cookies.

    The child sees that as a horrid transaction forced upon them by a mean, angry parent. But in the parent’s eyes it is an act of love.

    So, here’s the problem with this analogy: there is no cookie.  There also doesn’t seem to be a parent, either – the only thing in this analogy that we know is real is the broccoli.

    • #66
  7. Proud Skeptic Inactive
    Proud Skeptic
    @ProudSkeptic

    I am adamantly Pro Life.  I am also disappointed in some of the things this Pope has gotten into (AGW) but in this case I feel like he got it right.

    Christianity is very much about forgiveness.  While I disagree vehemently with those who claim to be able to tell when a fertilized egg “becomes” human, I also leave room for the fact that many women who have abortions are immersed in an environment that tells them “science says it is OK”.  Add to that the fact that it is legal and you have to wonder why a scared 20 year old would choose NOT to terminate the pregnancy.

    Therefore…assuming a state of true contrition…I think it is completely appropriate for priests to convey absolution on a repentant woman who has had an abortion.

    • #67
  8. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Casey:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: We Christians have a lot of colorful language for “damnation”, but ultimately, “damnation” is nothing other than our free choice to reject this loving relationship with God.

    It’s like telling a child “No cookie until you eat your broccoli.” As long as the child refuses to eat broccoli the child is damned to life without cookies.

    Eh, that’s not exactly how I see it. I don’t really see repentance (the process of first confessing sin, then reforming one’s ways to stop sinning) as yucky “broccoli” that God makes me do in order to gain access to His delicious “cookie” – and maybe this isn’t just because I usually prefer broccoli to many types of cookies :-)

    I will concede Majestyk’s point, though, that if a person thinks of God as the “cookie” and believes there is no cookie, then cries of “Eat your broccoli or you won’t get the cookie!” are unlikely to be persuasive.

    • #68
  9. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Majestyk:

    Casey:

    Majestyk: As rational, adult people we have to be willing to accept the fact that as a very real matter we stop functioning and oblivion is the result.

    What is rational about that?

    Lack of evidence to the contrary.

    Would you at least concede that it’s strong possibility?

    Well, there are really only two possibilities.  And one can just as rightly say that you lack evidence for your position as well.  (Assuming we are speaking of scientific evidence here.)

    • #69
  10. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Casey:

    Majestyk:

    Casey:

    Majestyk: As rational, adult people we have to be willing to accept the fact that as a very real matter we stop functioning and oblivion is the result.

    What is rational about that?

    Lack of evidence to the contrary.

    Would you at least concede that it’s strong possibility?

    Well, there are really only two possibilities. And one can just as rightly say that you lack evidence for your position as well. (Assuming we are speaking of scientific evidence here.)

    In this particular case, I think the lack of evidence is evidence.  It depends upon how you construct the null hypothesis.

    • #70
  11. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Casey:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    It’s like telling a child “No cookie until you eat your broccoli.” As long as the child refuses to eat broccoli the child is damned to life without cookies.

    Eh, that’s not exactly how I see it. I don’t really see repentance (the process of first confessing sin, then reforming one’s ways to stop sinning) as yucky “broccoli” that God makes me do in order to gain access to His delicious “cookie” – and maybe this isn’t just because I usually prefer broccoli to many types of cookies :-)

    I will concede Majestyk’s point, though, that if a person thinks of God as the “cookie” and believes there is no cookie, then cries of “Eat your broccoli or you won’t get the cookie!” are unlikely to be persuasive.

    I didn’t intend to get into the merits of broccoli or cookies or compare God to a cookie.  God was supposed to be the parent, and the cookie is heaven, and broccoli is good stuff.

    I just had the earlier Hitchens quote in mind:

    …the promise of eternal punishment and torture if you don’t accept this offer.

    No cookie is not punishment but rather a reward not accepted.

    But anyway this is like analyzing a Ziggy cartoon so I won’t go any further.

    • #71
  12. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Majestyk:

    In this particular case, I think the lack of evidence is evidence. It depends upon how you construct the null hypothesis.

    What evidence is possible?

    • #72
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Front Seat Cat:Can anyone recall the Ricochet article on the elderly priest – it was a post about 3-4 weeks ago and he was talking about the current pope? I cannot find it – and wanted to go back and re-read.

    Is this what you’re looking for?

    • #73
  14. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Casey:

    Majestyk:

    In this particular case, I think the lack of evidence is evidence. It depends upon how you construct the null hypothesis.

    What evidence is possible?

    I can think of a variety of means by which you could come up with evidence.

    Any person who comes into possession of knowledge which they could have had no other means of accessing who says they received the information directly from God would be interesting evidence – i.e., some factual thing which could be demonstrated but is currently obscured, like a new understanding of the nature of matter, the location of Amelia Earhart’s remains or the coordinates of the city of Atlantis.

    I say these things not to be silly but to be serious: an intelligence greater than our own which (presumably) has access to information about the world and universe and could share such information with people as a very minor means (but plausibly deniable) of demonstrating their vast power.  Of course, people will still be skeptical – that’s their nature – but at the margin I think you’d see people come around.

    That said, we’ve never seen that happen.  Not once.  I don’t think there’s been a documented case of such remote viewing or clairvoyance that has held up to serious scrutiny, and certainly no prophecy in a religious text which couldn’t be interpreted as something else.

    • #74
  15. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    So someone telling you God told them the coordinates of the city of Atlantis trumps the resurrection?

    • #75
  16. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Casey:So someone telling you God told them the coordinates of the city of Atlantis trumps the resurrection?

    The alleged resurrection.  There is no actual evidence of the resurrection beyond hearsay.  If there were the equivalent of the Zapruder film of the Resurrection and a person came up with it then we’d be cooking with gas.  Obviously, such a thing isn’t going to be forthcoming.

    To be fair – you’d have to find evidence of Atlantis in the place they said in order to have it mean anything.  I said it was a somewhat silly example, but it would have serious consequences.  There are interesting parallels between many of these legends, and if you start finding evidence that actual events undergird the more fanciful aspects of the legend then that’s something.

    This is neither here nor there, however because the big enchilada is: the revelation of currently obscured, factual information via religious experience.

    Nobody can point to such a thing occurring.  Nothing so interesting as a well has been dug on the basis of revelation, and just because you happen to find water there that doesn’t mean that God told you it was there.  Unfailing accuracy would be another hallmark of such a revelation – the same person simultaneously predicting the locations of Atlantis, Amelia Earhart and Jimmy Hoffa?  That would be a little too coincidental to dismiss.

    • #76
  17. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    So in other words, you need to stick your fingers in the wounds before you believe.

    • #77
  18. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Casey:So in other words, you need to stick your fingers in the wounds before you believe.

    A few shards of evidence wouldn’t hurt, would they?

    There are significant hurdles for the faithful to overcome in my opinion.  Not only do you have to dispel the competing claims of other religions, but you must have some positive evidence for your own suppositions.

    • #78
  19. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Majestyk:

    Casey:So in other words, you need to stick your fingers in the wounds before you believe.

    A few shards of evidence wouldn’t hurt, would they?

    There are significant hurdles for the faithful to overcome in my opinion. Not only do you have to dispel the competing claims of other religions, but you must have some positive evidence for your own suppositions.

    God does not provide proof, M, because he sent us to this earth for the express purpose of developing faith.  Faith is not needed when you have knowledge.  Without faith we cannot reach our potential as children of the Divine Being.

    Having said that, God will provide you spiritual proof if you just try to exercise some faith.  Swallow your pride, get on your knees and ask Him.

    • #79
  20. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Shards of evidence? I don’t know. It certainly would make belief easier but it would also take a lot of living out of life.

    • #80
  21. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Majestyk:

    The alleged resurrection. There is no actual evidence of the resurrection beyond hearsay. If there were the equivalent of the Zapruder film of the Resurrection and a person came up with it then we’d be cooking with gas. Obviously, such a thing isn’t going to be forthcoming.

    You have no evidence of the Kennedy assassination other than hearsay. You have no evidence that there was such a person as JFK, or FDR, or Lincoln, or Washington, other than hearsay.  You believe such things because they were told to you by people that you believed were reliable, or you read them from sources that you believe to be reliable.

    The Zapruder film?  Hey, watch The Passion of the Christ.  There, it’s on film (or, more likely, stored as digital information on a disk or some such).

    This is an area in which we lawyers have something to contribute to the discussion.  We are accustomed to “proving” things with “evidence,” all of which comes down to what people say.  Documentary evidence — well, how do you know that it’s not a forgery?  The murder weapon — well, how do you know that it isn’t some random gun?  Because a witness says so.

    Almost everything that we believe, we believe on authority.

    • #81
  22. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Scott Wilmot:

    Front Seat Cat:Can anyone recall the Ricochet article on the elderly priest – it was a post about 3-4 weeks ago and he was talking about the current pope? I cannot find it – and wanted to go back and re-read.

    Is this the one you are looking for?

    Yes thank you – I think this story will speak volumes when the pope addresses the UN this month –

    • #82
  23. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Casey at the bat! You show true grace in your comments – but like so many non-believers who come to believe will tell you, its not an discussion of the intellect, but a heart issue. God changes hearts, but it requires humility and just the faith the size of a mustard seed – Majestyk – you would not be on this thread if you did not have a seeker’s heart and the faith the size of a mustard seed. If you need proof, God can deliver that too. Just ask.

    • #83
  24. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Arizona Patriot:

    You have no evidence of the Kennedy assassination other than hearsay. You have no evidence that there was such a person as JFK, or FDR, or Lincoln, or Washington, other than hearsay.

    The Zapruder film? Hey, watch The Passion of the Christ. There, it’s on film (or, more likely, stored as digital information on a disk or some such).

    SNIP

    Almost everything that we believe, we believe on authority.

    Hold on here – you don’t actually think this, do you?

    For starters, let me say that something like the Zapruder film is direct, documentary evidence of a historical event.  It’s even better than a retelling by a firsthand witness; let alone a second or thirdhand account.

    To be fair, if you want to go down that road, it has been noted that people make spectacularly bad witnesses, and this reason might explain why the Gospels fail to agree with one another about so many aspects of Jesus’ life.  Another might be that they were recounting events not directly witnessed.

    At any rate, the combination of physical evidence, witness testimony and fundamental credibility of the overall narrative conspire to help people determine the believability of a particular event being related.

    • #84
  25. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    If this year’s MLB replay system is any guide, I’m going with the man on the scene.

    • #85
  26. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Casey:If this year’s MLB replay system is any guide, I’m going with the man on the scene.

    I am sitting on the pile of ashes previously known as “The Rockies” right now.

    It’s totally depressing.

    • #86
  27. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    I feel your pain.

    • #87
  28. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Arizona Patriot: I am an evangelical Protestant, not a Catholic.  So I do not believe that it is up to the Pope, or a bishop, or a priest, to decide whether or not to extend God’s forgiveness.  It is up to God.

    Don’t mean to pick a fight with you on this topic, but I’m quite curious to know what you understand John 20:23 to mean in that case:

    21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

    • #88
  29. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Majestyk: This is the fundamentally incongruent point in my mind: God (allegedly omnipotent, omniscient, etc…) created this set of rules.  It follows logically that he could alter them.

    God did alter them.  That’s kinda’ the whole point of the Gospel.

    • #89
  30. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Majestyk: Allow humans to bear responsibility for themselves.  This is a bedrock principle of conservatism.  I, you, all of us are responsible for ourselves.  I certainly don’t want to contemplate the idea that my life is on a set of rails with the default location being “damnation” and the only way out of it is to accept this “gift” that I didn’t either ask for or have any say in.

    But life itself is a gift that you didn’t ask for or have any say in.  You don’t believe in God, I understand, even so you still didn’t create yourself or will yourself into existence.  You owe your very existence to the actions of your parents and their choice to give you life (a choice no one born in the post-Roe era should take for granted!).

    Yes we must take responsibility for what we have been given and try to use it wisely and make the most of it, but we should also be humble enough to acknowledge that each new day is another precious gift.

    • #90
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