On Monday, November 21, Pope Francis granted Catholic priests the ability to pardon abortions, effectively covering all people participating in the act even the nurses and doctors who perform the operation.
According to Slate, "Abortion is a sin that can be forgiven by any Catholic priest." The article explains that while all sins - including abortion - have always been "forgivable," the Pope's statement makes forgiveness more accessible for women who have abortions. Now, local priests can forgive the sin instead of only bishops, who are much higher up in the church hierarchy.
Although this is already a hot topic because abortions are still a sensitive dinner-table topic, president-elect Donald Trump might take issue with what the Vatican has extended.
Aside from Trump foreseeing Roe v Wade being overturned, he and the Pope have been at odds before. Pope Francis hasn't stepped much into American politics, and while he would endorse neither candidate for the presidency, he did take stabs at him back in February by suggesting Trump was not Christian because of the wall he still wants to build between Mexico and the U.S. Even now, Trump and Pope Francis are at odds about the issue of climate change as well.
With tensions already in place, we can see that Trump and the Pope are going to most likely to continue their uneasy relationship. In fact, the Pope's allowance for priests to forgive abortions may be another stab because of Trump's talk of overturning Roe v Wade.
Marie Fayssoux, a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill majoring in Human Development and Family Studies, weighed in on the Pope's ruling.
Put simply, I think that the Pope's decision to give priests the ability to forgive the sin of abortion is beautiful. I struggle with the subject of abortion, because there are many variables, and I don't think all are "equal," but the bottom line is forgiveness is a necessary and healing part of life. The Pope's decision is especially encouraging for women that never wanted an abortion but had to have one for medical reasons.
Of course, the issue of abortion is not solved overnight because of the Pope's statement, but it certainly is an important milestone in the issue's history.
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