From the pain of abortion, to the joy of God’s mercy

By Father Matthew Wertin, Respect Life Liaison to the Bishop
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 they have no other option...I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision.

Those words are from the Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis according to which an indulgence is granted to the faithful on the occasion of the extraordinary jubilee of mercy (September 1, 2015). As an important pastoral feature during the upcoming and highly anticipated Year of Mercy, Pope Francis is therefore granting a special favor:

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.

Let us pray for this, and for much, deep, and extended healing throughout our diocese. May we all make ourselves ready for this Year of Mercy, and please God, may all those who are wounded by the loss of a child or involved in an abortion in any way, whatever their personal culpability may be, find enough courage to walk through that door of mercy, the confessional, and there meet the living God, Jesus Christ, who is for us “the face of the Father’s mercy.”

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May priests fulfill 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. Amen to that! Thank you, Pope Francis!