Bishop Jarrell issued the following press release today:
“On September 1, Pope Francis issued a letter concerning the Jubilee Year of Mercy. In that letter he extended “to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who with a contrite heart seek forgiveness for it.” It should be known that for many years, the Bishops of the Diocese of Lafayette have extended that same faculty to priests in the Diocese. The Holy Father is simply doing the same thing for priests throughout the world. Catholics having questions should speak to a priest. The Holy Father was very clear that abortion is a serious sin. He also emphasizes the path of reconciliation.”
You can read the Holy Father’s letter here.
And for those who are amazed (or dismayed) at all these ‘new’ things Pope Francis is saying, you may be interested in the following quote:
“I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors that may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope.
Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.” These words were written by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical, “The Gospel of Life”, in 1995.