Sep 092015

Publication in the media of the Year of Mercy expansion of the faculty to absolve from the sin of abortion may cause some confusion among those who have repented of this sin and have already been absolved in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Please note that most priests in the United States have already had the authority to absolve from this sin in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Because this sin is grave enough to result in an automatic excommunication (assuming the person is aware of this penalty, they are at least 17 years old, and acted freely — that is, not out of fear or duress), canon law normally restricts the lifting of the penalty of an excommunication to the authority of the bishop.  But for the singular case of abortion, priests with the faculty to hear confessions in the Diocese of Davenport already have the faculty to lift the excommunication.
Therefore, someone who had repented of this sin and received absolution from a priest of our diocese in the Sacrament of Reconciliation does not need to worry that they were not properly absolved.

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