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How Pope Francis is perpetuating the Catholic Church’s radical anti-abortion position

2015-09-04

According to the church, if I commit adultery, my priest can hear my confession and absolve my sin. If I murder my wife, my priest can hear my confession and absolve my sin. Heck, if I engage in an act of genocide, my priest can hear my confession and absolve my sin.But if my wife procures an abortion, she incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication, meaning she instantly falls out of communion with the Catholic Church. That precludes her from partaking in the sacraments, including the sacrament of reconciliation, which is the means by which a priest can hear a confession and absolve sins.That makes abortion worse than every other form of murder, including mass murder.And there we have the necessary moral context for judging the pope’s recent announcement. What he’s done is declare that during the upcoming Jubilee year, women who’ve had abortions and been automatically excommunicated will be allowed to partake in the sacrament of reconciliation and thereby have their sin forgiven, which would permit the automatic excommunication to be reversed.

Source: How Pope Francis is perpetuating the Catholic Church’s radical anti-abortion position

This is something I didn’t know about the Catholic Church and Catholic doctrine– there are only nine sins that incur instant excommunication, and one of them is abortion.  The other eight are related to doctrinal crimes: schism, heresy, apostasy, physical attacks on the Pope, offering to hear the confession of someone who has violated their vow of celibacy, revealing the confession of one person to another person (violating the vow of secrecy taken by the priest who hears confessions, and yes, there is an interesting tension between violating the vow of secrecy of a confession and offering to hear the confession of someone who has violated their vow of celibacy, in that who is to know if you have violated the prohibition on hearing the confession etc.)

Read the rest of the article for details on automatic instant excommunication and how abortion is worse than murder…

Of course, the article also mentions that this particular murder is unique in that the victim is completely contained within the body of the murderer, another point that I hadn’t noticed.  That is, the victim is completely dependent on the perpetrator and has invaded the body of the perpetrator without the perpetrator’s consent.  This is ethically equivalent to your being hooked up by means of artery-vein connections to the body of another person and being told that, without your specific and sole help, that other person cannot survive.  What’s more, that other person will exit your body in nine months through an invasive and extremely painful process that often takes more than a day and results in massive hemorrhage.  After that, the other person will be legally dependent on you for another eighteen years and will require you to give up all your plans and hopes for the future.  Ethically speaking, you cannot require someone to accept that kind of commitment without their explicit consent; yet that is what opposition to abortion (and certain methods of birth control) entails.

This is the ethical equivalent of justifiable homicide: sure, abortion is murder, but that fetus needed killing.  No baby can demand of its mother (and father) that kind of commitment without explicit consent.

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