Forgiving abortion empowers women: Caritas India official

September 6, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

ConfessionNew Delhi, September 4, 2015: Pope Francis’ decision to allow priests to forgive abortion is in a real sense an indicator of female empowerment, a Caritas India official said.

Welcoming the pope’s statement, M. Shimray, head of Caritas India’s Gender desk, said the decision affirms Caritas’ mandate to value human life.

Shimray told ucanews.com that while many might call Pope Francis radical, his sensitiveness to women’s issues is an indicator of “empowerment to women.”

She said that if a woman makes a drastic decision to have an abortion, one must understand the factors and pressures that influenced that choice.

“The decision to become a single mother in the West may come quicker than in developing countries like India where economic independence for women is still largely deficient,” she said.

Welcoming the pope’s call for forgiveness to women in such a scenario, Shimray said “forgiveness should also include molding the woman back to a value base so that she does not commit this sin again.”

However, she said the pope’s call for forgiveness should not be misunderstood as a “promotion to practice abortion or single motherhood.”

“It should be seen in the right context,” she said.

The Vatican announced Sept. 1 that Pope Francis was extending to priests worldwide the authority to absolve women for the sin of abortion.

“This jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one,” the pope wrote in a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization, the office organizing events for the holy year, which opens Dec. 8, reported Catholic News Service.

In the Catholic-majority Philippines, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan called the pope’s announcement a “concession” to the sinner.

Archbishop Cruz, who is also head of the legal office of the Philippine bishops’ conference, stressed that the pope’s statement is not intended to say that abortion is any “less evil” than before.

“This provision is not to say that abortion is OK. It is only meant to say that the mercy of God is bigger than the sin of abortion,” the archbishop told ucanews.com Sept. 2.

The Church’s Code of Canon Law identifies abortion as a grave sin punishable by excommunication.

– ucan

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