Pope Francis made headlines around the world this week when he announced that priests will be able to offer forgiveness to women who have had abortions.
In practical terms, though, the announcement means little in Canada, where bishops have long designated that ability to local priests, says Rev. Tom Lynch, a professor of theology at St. Augustine’s Seminary at the University of Toronto.
“I think here in Canada it’s not as big of news as perhaps in other parts of the world,” says Lynch, the national director of Priests for Life Canada and the pastor St. Mary’s Parish in Lindsay, Ont.
For four decades, North American bishops have delegated the decision to priests to hear confession and offer forgiveness for this “sin.”
Forgiveness for only eight of the most grievous sins is reserved for bishops, Lynch says. Abortion is not one of them.
“This isn’t a change in the teaching on abortion; it isn’t a change in the teaching on confession. It’s just a change in the pastoral practice,” heRead More »from Pope’s abortion overtures means little in Canada where priests already can offer forgiveness