Turin: Priests Allowed to Grant Remission for Those Who Have Committed Sin of Abortion

On the Occasion of the Exhibition of the Holy Shroud, Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia Allows Priests to Remit Excommunication

Women who have had an abortion and all those who have carried it out or encouraged it will be able to have their excommunication remitted without the need for an appeal, if they go on pilgrimage to Turin, during the extraordinary exhibition of the Holy Shroud, to be held from April 19 to June 24.

The indulgence was established in a decree signed by the Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, who granted the faculty of remission to all priests (be they of the diocese or outside it, be they members of Institutes of Consecrated Life or of Societies of Apostolic life who are regularly able to receive the faithful’s confessions.) throughout the territory of the Archdiocese of Turin.

The decision was taken considering the fact that, “in the period of the soon-to-be Exhibition of the Holy Shroud, many faithful will pour into the city of Turin and the entire territory of the Archdiocese, and this event is a time of grace that can be translated into attitudes of conversion, fruits of penance and of newness of life to reawaken many consciences,” reads the decree.

The faculty of absolution of the excommunication stemming from procured abortion, without the onus of appeal within a month to the competent Superior or a priest provided with the faculty and of holding oneself to his decisions, is a sign of the “mercy of the Father in dealing with one who is repentant of a crime committed without, however, diminishing the vigor of the law that imposes the obligation of appeal of one who has been absolved, because it was grave for him/her to remain in the state of serious sin.”

In the decree, the Archbishop of Turin recommends to delegated priests, first of all, to console one who is anguished, remembering that, whatever the heart reproaches, God is greater than man’s heart and knows everything.”

After having “instructed the penitents about the gravity of this sin,” the confessors will have to verify if “they have really incurred in the censure” and, in that case, impose “sacramental penances such as to foster a stable conversion as soon as possible.”

By way of example, Archbishop Nosiglia suggests “to implore God’s indispensable help with a commitment to prayer, which could be participation at Mass — in addition to a day of obligation — also on a weekday for a period of time to be determined in each case, according to the concrete possibilities of the penitent.”

Finally, the Prelate proposes support of a “center of hospitality to life,” or “works that seek the good of little ones, without excluding the possibility of offering – to those intending to take recourse to abortion – correct advice to face an undesired maternity including, when possible, material help.”

Thus, the intention is not “to exclude that the satisfaction be limited to prayer, but rather to stress that the Church’s position is for a more directly corrective  penance of the disorder incurred and, therefore, constructive of the corresponding good.” 

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