Priests to forgive abortion in Pope youth festival

MADRID Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:06am EDT

Pilgrims walk inside a school that is hosting them on the second day of the World Youth Day meeting in Madrid August 17, 2011. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Pilgrims walk inside a school that is hosting them on the second day of the World Youth Day meeting in Madrid August 17, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Andrea Comas

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MADRID (Reuters) - The Vatican has granted priests the right to forgive the sin of abortion when hearing the confessions of hundreds of thousands of young people attending a Roman Catholic youth festival in Spain this week.

The termination of pregnancy is a sin punishable by excommunication under Church law. The World Youth Day (WYD) pilgrims will attend a mass confession in the presence of Pope Benedict on Saturday in a central Madrid park.

"This (concession) is to make it easier for the faithful who attend the World Youth Day celebrations to obtain the fruits of divine grace," the Madrid archdiocese said in a statement on its website.

Two hundred white portable confessional cabins have been erected in Madrid's Retiro Park where hundreds of priests will take confessions in different languages from the pilgrims who have travelled to Spain from around the world.

The pontiff will sit in one of the booths on Saturday morning to hear confessions from three visitors, ahead of a mass with up to 6,000 seminarians.

The Vatican already announced on August 11 that it had authorized a plenary, or full indulgence, to all the young people attending the celebrations.

An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven and is traditionally granted to WYD pilgrims.

Pope Benedict will arrive in Spain's capital on Thursday for a four-day visit culminating in a mass on Sunday in the Cuatro Vientos aerodrome which over two million people are expected to attend.

The cost of the papal visit has already sparked heavy criticism at a time of economic hardship in Spain from disaffected youths, as well as gay and lesbian and transgender groups, atheists and even some Spanish priests.

A protest march has been organized for Wednesday in central Madrid.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, an open secularist, has clashed with the church over abortion and has changed the law during his tenure to make it easier for women seeking to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

(Reporting by Judy MacInnes; additional reporting by Tom Heneghan, editing by Rosalind Russell)

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Comments (4)
TrevAdams wrote:
When are catholics going to wake up to the truth. Jesus explained it as He died on the Cross. He said, “It is finished.” There is no such thing as penance, we can add nothing to His sacrifice. He paid the penalty in full and we are saved by Grace. Grace is the totally unmerited favour of Almighty God to us who put our faith and trust in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. Please read Dave Hunt’s book, A Woman rides the Beast. It will give you the truth. Do not let men force lies on you, we have one mediator between God and man, The Lord Jesus Christ.

Aug 17, 2011 8:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
KarlQuick wrote:
Very misleading article… There is no sin that is unforgivable to one who truly does repent in the eyes of God. The confusion is between the laws of the church governing our membership in the “earthly body” (the human organization) and matters of “faith and morals”. The church can “excommunicate” you, but it takes God to condemn you to the “netherworld”. (Euphemism used to make my spell checker and your spam filter happy… humm… that is a great analogy: life on earth is full of what we do to make others satisfied with us enough to leave us alone or allow us into ‘the club’; the spiritual life is where we speak in truth and honesty with out God, within ourselves.)

Final thought: does God “condemn”, or does He simply give us free will in this artificial world where we choose our own he-ll and give each other he-ll? Is the ability to create he-ll one way we are created in His “image and likeness”? Are we the ones who ultimately condemn ourselves to repeat the tragedy of our lives through eternity by repeating what has gotten us here? …or can our “poor souls” learn?

Aug 17, 2011 8:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
BillJohnson wrote:
This sort of sloppy journalism undermines Reuter’s credibility. These reporters should be reassigned. This is article totally misleading! The Vatican doesn’t grant any rights to priests. Any and every dully ordained priest has the power to forgive any and all sins in confession. the author’s name is missing from this report otherwise i’d demand that he be fired! it’s just more anti-catholic disinformation.

Aug 17, 2011 1:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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