Pope Francis

The article below is written by Jimmy Akin and available on his blog.

Pope Francis has just released a letter in which he made several announcements concerning the upcoming Year of Mercy.
This includes absolution for those who have procured abortion and the ability to go to priests of the Society of St. Pius X for confession.
These have raised a lot of questions, so here are 12 things to know and share . . .
 
1) What is the Year of Mercy?
Popes periodically dedicate a year to a particular theme. For example, Benedict XVI dedicated 2010 to priests and 2013 as a Year of Faith. Now, Pope Francis has devoted 2016 to the theme of mercy.
Designating such years are one of the ways that the popes call attention to particular themes and help people understand and live their faith more deeply.
The upcoming Year of Mercy runs from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.

It doesn’t coincide with the calendar year because it’s based on the Church’s liturgical year (which begins with Advent rather than January 1) and because it’s adjusted to begin and end with certain special days on the Church’s calendar (December 8 is the Immaculate Conception and, in 2016, November 20 is Christ the King).
 
2) What has Pope Francis said about the year and what are we supposed to do during it?
Pope Francis discussed the year at length when he announced it. You can read what he had to say here.
Pope Francis also discusses the year in a new apostolic letter, released on September 1, which you can read here.

In the new letter, Pope Francis talks about several opportunities for celebrating the Year of Mercy, including doing a pilgrimage in your diocese to gain an indulgence, performing corporal and spiritual works of mercy, praying for the departed, etc.
He also talks about priests absolving those who have procured abortion and going to priests of the Society of St. Pius X for confession.
 
3) What does “procuring” an abortion mean?
In ordinary speech, procuring means obtaining, but here the term is used in a somewhat special way.
In canonical terms, it is generally taken to mean cooperating in an abortion in such a way that, if you hadn’t done your part, the abortion would not have taken place.

It is generally understood that only those immediately involved can be guilty of procuring an abortion in the canonical sense.
Those more remotely involved (e.g., workers at the electrical plant that supplies the abortion clinic with power, politicians and judges who make bad abortion laws) are not involved in this way.
 
4) Can’t priests just absolve people who have procured abortions?
Not without something else happening. Here’s why:

Step 1: The Code of Canon Law provides an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication for those who procure abortion.
Can. 1398 A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.
Step 2: Excommunication prevents a person from receiving the sacraments.
Can. 1331 §1. An excommunicated person is forbidden:
2/ to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments;
Step 3: The bishop (local ordinary) is the one empowered to remit the excommunication that procuring an abortion causes.
Can. 1355

§2. If the penalty has not been reserved to the Apostolic See, an ordinary can remit a latae sententiae penalty established by law but not yet declared for his subjects and those who are present in his territory or who committed the offense there; any bishop can also do this in the act of sacramental confession.
Therefore, a person who procures an abortion incurs an automatic excommunication which prevents them from receiving the sacraments. Confession is a sacrament, therefore, they cannot be absolved in confession until the excommunication is lifted. The bishop (or a bishop) is the one who needs to get involved in order to lift the excommunication and allow the person to be sacramentally absolved.
Except . . .
 
5) Except what?
Three things.
First, the Code of Canon Law provides a long list of things that can stop an automatic excommunication from taking effect. See here for more on that.
Of special note are these provisions:

Can. 1324
§1. The perpetrator of a violation is not exempt from a penalty, but the penalty established by law or precept must be tempered or a penance employed in its place if the delict was committed:
4/ by a minor who has completed the age of sixteen years;
5/ by a person who was coerced by grave fear, even if only relatively grave, or due to necessity or grave inconvenience if the delict is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;
8/ by a person who thought in culpable error that one of the circumstances mentioned in ? can. 1323, nn. 4 or 5 was present;
9/ by a person who without negligence did not know that a penalty was attached to a law or precept;
§3. In the circumstances mentioned in §1, the accused is not bound by a latae sententiae penalty.

Many who procure abortions are under sixteen, very fearful, and do not know that there is an automatic excommunication for procuring an abortion, this canon provides multiple grounds on which many who commit the act do not incur the penalty attached to it.
In such circumstances, they can be absolved in confession without the involvement of the bishop.
Second, I am informed that—due to how widespread abortion is in America—most American bishops have given their priests ability to remit the abortion excommunication in confession, without having to consult the bishop first.
Third, see comments by canonist Dr. Edward Peters here.
 
6) What should a person who thinks they may have incurred an excommunication by procuring an abortion do?
If they did incur the penalty (which includes knowing that the penalty existed and procuring the abortion anyway) then they should go to confession.
If the priest needs to consult with the bishop, he will let you know. Otherwise, he will be able to absolve you immediately upon determining that you have repented of procuring the abortion.
Or, because of what Pope Francis has done, go to any priest during the Year of Mercy.
 
7) What has Pope Francis done?
In his apostolic letter, Pope Francis states:
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. 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.

By his apostolic authority, Pope Francis has thus granted ordinary priests the ability to deal with this situation in confession, without having to involve the bishop, during the Year of Mercy—as a special sign of God’s mercy and as an encouragement of those who have procured an abortion to repent and return to the practice of their faith.
 
For the rest of the article addressing the SSPX group, click here.

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by Steve Ray on June 26, 2015

The Pope has made it known that a decision on Medjugorje soon. Many things are being said and much speculation is swirling about. Jimmy Akin breaks down the latest reports and suggestions in this excellent article Waiting for a Medjugorje Decision, 12 Things You Should Know. If you have an interest in this issue, this is an excellent up-to-date summary.

We are now in the period of waiting before the Holy See announces a decision regarding the reported apparitions at Medjugorje. In recent days, several developments have emerged which people have examined to see what they might reveal about that decision.

One set of stories claims to know the decision reached by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here are 12 things to know and share . . .

 1) What are the basic facts about Medjugorje?

Medjugorje is a town located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, part of the former Yugoslavia.

In 1981, several young people there began reported receiving apparitions of the Virgin Mary. This led to the development of a global movement around the reported apparitions, which are reported to be still-ongoing today….

You can read all of Jimmy Akin’s excellent article including all the recent comments made by the Pope and others here: http://jimmyakin.com/2015/06/waiting-for-a-medjugorje-decision-12-things-to-know-and-share.html

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A lot is being said about Laudato Si both from supporters and critics — of which I guess I am both. I would fall in the camp of the Acton Institute…

Here are eight links worth reading and watching as you digest and work through the new encyclical.

1) Acton Institute critique by my friend Kishore Jayabalan: Don’t Blame Markets, but Sin for Environmental Problems 

2) Acton Institute presents There is a ‘more hopeful and human way forward’ than what Pope Francis suggests

3) What to do when the Pope gets is wrong?

4) Eleven Things you Probably Won’t hear about Pope Francis’ Encyclical

5) Further materials from the Acton Institute on Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment

6) Fr. Fessio and Mark Brumley and others frpm Ignatius Press respond to the encyclical in writing and a video presentation

7) Fr. Sirico reviews the encyclical on Fox News:

8) Cardinal Wuerl on Fox News explaining the Pope and his new encyclical (great job)

 

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Draft of Pope’s Environment Encyclical Leaked: 12 Things You Should Know

June 16, 2015

Jimmy Akin has done a great job summarizing the situation and the encyclical to-date. It starts out: With just days to go before the release of Pope Francis’s highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, a draft copy has suddenly appeared on the Internet. Here are 12 things to know and share . . . 1) [...]

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Pope Going to Fatima – Beat him there and miss the crowds!

April 27, 2015

We just took a great group of pilgrims to Fatima, Avila and Lourdes. We have another trip going in July to visit Fatima, Santiago de Compostela and Lourdes. Join us and miss all the crowds!  Pope Francis Plans to Visit Fatima in 2017 Trip to Coincide with 100th Anniversary of Marian Apparitions, By Junno Arocho Esteves [...]

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Disturbing Report of Book on the Family Blocked from ‘Synod on the Family’ Participants

March 3, 2015

The head of secretariat of the synod of bishops was reportedly “furious” about “Remaining in the Truth of Christ,” [Ignatius Press publication] which includes chapters by Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller   (February 25, 2015 12:00 EST   Carl E. Olson)   Both Kath.net and Edward Pentin are reporting that Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, head of secretariat of the synod of bishops, [...]

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Canada’s Supreme Court Legalizes Euthanasia: The US will be next…

February 15, 2015

Neither Dignity Nor Justice: Canadas Supreme Court Legalizes Euthanasia By Father John Flynn, LC ROME, February 15, 2015 (Zenit.org) – On February 6 the nine judges of the Canadian Supreme Court legalized euthanasia in a unanimous decision, reversing a previous 1994 ruling. The move continued a tendency towards judicial activism that started with the striking down [...]

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Needed: A New Church Policy toward Islam (Pt. 1)

February 3, 2015

By WILLIAM KILPATRICK In a speech to Egypt’s top Islamic authorities (see YouTube video below), President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for a “religious revolution.” Why? Because he believes that Islam has problems: “That corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries … is antagonizing the entire world.” He continued: “Is it possible that 1.6 [...]

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Pope Gives his Take on Divisive Family Meeting

December 10, 2014

Notice a good friends comments below :-) VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis says bishops spoke their minds, and may have even fought among themselves during a divisive church meeting on family issues. But he says no one questioned church teaching on marriage. Francis gave his first complete assessment of the October synod during his [...]

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Joint Statement by Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew (Peter and Andrew)

November 30, 2014

On Sunday Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew signed a joint declaration affirming their common commitment to full Christian unity as well as their support for suffering Christians in the Middle East. “We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians, who have professed the name of Jesus there for two thousand years,” the joint statement reads. [...]

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What Do 2,400 Vatican Workers Actually Do?

November 11, 2014

Interesting article in Legatus Magazine. Read it HERE.  It gives us an idea what goes on behind the Vatican Walls and the Swiss Guards.

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Pope Francis Talks with President Peres of Israel about Gaza, War and Peace

July 18, 2014

Pope Francis spoke to President Peres this morning and asked to deliver a message of coexistence, moderation and peace to all the citizens of the region in light of the current security situation. His Holiness Pope Francis spoke to President Shimon Peres earlier today (Friday, 18 July 2014), and conveyed a messaged of coexistence, moderation [...]

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Pope Francis Says He will Renounce the Papacy in the Future

June 14, 2014

Interesting story. Looks like Pope Benedict started a trend. You can read about it at… …Pope Francis May Renounce the Papacy Someday: Six Things You Should Know and Share.

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Radio and TV Shows with Steve about the Pope in the Holy Land and the Situation Over There

May 23, 2014

It has been a busy week. Yesterday EWTN’s “The World Over” that will be repeated three more times this week. It was a good time with Raymond and the segment flew by. All his staff and producers were wonderful.You can find out more here www.ewtn.com/tv/live/worldover.asp. Today I will be on Drew Mariani’s Show on Relevant Radio [...]

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I Will Join Raymond Arroyo Thursday on World Over on EWTN – The Pope in the Middle East

May 20, 2014

The show will focus on the Pope’s visit to the Middle East. We will discuss the sites he will visit, what he will find, the mood of the local Christians, the controversy over his Mass in the Upper Room and more. The show airs at 8:00 PM Eastern time from Washington DC. I have to [...]

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Amazing! Pope will Celebrate Mass in the Upper Room

March 27, 2014

This is quite incredible since it has not been done since Pope John Paul II received permission from Israel to celebrate Mass there on his visit to the Holy Land. Pope Francis will do the “not allowed”–he will celebrate Mass in the Upper Room. Seems odd, eh, that the place where the first Eucharist was [...]

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