In a letter published by the Vatican on Tuesday Pope Francis revealed that he will give priests the authority to forgive the sin of abortion during the Holy Year of Mercy, a right usually only afforded to Bishops.
The Jubilee Year starts December 2015 and ends November 2016. During that time women who have received an abortion can go to confession and receive forgiveness right then and there which marks a major change for Catholics all over the world.
Bishop Jarrell, head of the Diocese of Lafayette says usually there are a few steps to be taken when confessing this particular sin. “The practice is that the priest would have to go to the bishop, tell him that this sin has been confessed by someone, he doesn’t say who and the bishop tells him alright you may forgive them.”
Abortion is considered a mortal sin in the Catholic Church, therefore anyone who has obtained or helped someone else get an abortion is considered excommunicated from the church, banning them from sacraments like marriage, confession and communion.
“I think we need to bring our ladies back into the fold of mercy. That’s Jesus’s mercy, and Lord knows we all need it.” says Debbie Arnold, a Lafayette resident. She says this is a great change for women of the Catholic faith. “It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it, knowing that they can be welcomed back in the church. I think it would fill their hearts with joy.”
This particular exception will only be allowed during the Jubilee year.