Cardinal of Mexico City Gives Priests Faculties During Lent to Forgive Sin of Abortion

Aims to Nourish Grace of Reconciliation, Conversion

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In order to facilitate the experience of conversion and the grace of reconciliation during the Lenten season, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop primate of Mexico City, has delegated to all the priests of the Archdiocese of Mexico the extraordinary faculty to grant absolution for the sin of abortion that, according to Canon 1398 of Canon Law, merits excommunication.

In Ordinary Time, the power to absolve reserved sins is held only by penitentiary priests of the Basilica of Guadalupe and the Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as ministers delegated by Episcopal Vicars in each of the eight Vicariates and those who hold the post of Deans.

In the Distrito Federal, the national capitol, abortion for any reason is legal through the 12th week of pregnancy.

The Information Service of the Archdiocese of Mexico (SIAME) reported that the decree of the cardinal archbishop was made known in a note sent to the entire presbytery, members of consecrated life and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Mexico, to indicate norms that will help to live “fruitfully” the special moment of grace that is Lent.

In his recommendations to live this time of conversion, the cardinal asked that one keep in mind that “our voluntary privations can alleviate the needs of the destitute, as in this way we will live the fundamental attitude of Christian charity, sharing something of what we have.”

He also reminded that on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday in the archdiocese, fasting and abstinence must be observed, while on other Fridays of Lent only abstinence is obligatory, although the latter can be commuted by a special work of charity, of piety or another significant voluntary sacrifice.

Rules for fasting and abstinence are set by canon law but can be modified to a limited extent by individual episcopal conferences. Substitutions are often proposed by episcopal conferences; this is often the case where poverty or other motives make dietary restrictions heavily burdensome.

Finally, the archbishop of Mexico invited all priests to be “committed to give Lenten talks.”

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