Indian Catholic News

Philippine bishop allows priests to forgive sin of abortion

Granting of this ability not a license for women to terminate their pregnancies, Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan warns.

 
Manila: 

A bishop in the central Philippines has allowed priests in his diocese "to absolve the grave sin of abortion" during the Lenten season.

Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan from Eastern Samar province made the announcement in a bulletin released on March 21.

Newly ordained priests, however, cannot do so.

The Catholic Church punishes women who have abortions with excommunication except if the bishop gives absolution.

"This penalty of excommunication means that those who undergo an abortion, together with whoever plays an active role in allowing an abortion to take place, are separated from the prayers of the Church the world over," said Archbishop Oscar Cruz, an expert in canon law.

The prelate, however, said a bishop can delegate to his priests the ability to absolve those who committed the sin from excommunication for a given number of times.

Archbishop Cruz warned that granting this ability to priests is not a license to commit abortion.

"It is only meant to say that the mercy of God is bigger than the sin of abortion," said the prelate.

In 2015, Pope Francis granted priests the power to forgive those who have committed the sin of abortion during the Church observance of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

Abortion is considered a criminal act in the Philippines even as a study noted that one in three women die each day on average from unsafe abortions.

The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, estimates that there were 610,000 abortions in the Philippines in 2012, a number that continues to rise along with population growth.

Source: UCAN

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