grant absolution

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Away from the sex abuse scandals, Pope Francis has courted deeper controversy within the church by saying that divorced and re-married couples should be allowed to receive Holy Communion, (although the church believes in the dissolubility of marriage) seeking more inclusion for homosexuals and allowing priests to grant absolution for abortion, all of which contradict Catholic teachings.For Pope Francis, it seems the gloves are off and his reform agenda is now openly under threat from Catholic conservatives.
In the past, only a bishop or a designated chief confessor of a diocese could grant absolution for an abortion.
Certainly, Francis' symbolic gestures, such as allowing priests to grant absolution for abortion over the space of one year, though narrow and arbitrary, give hope for a church that is more receptive to the experiences of women while sending a message to bishops across the country who have shut them out.
The sanction of excommunication can only be lifted if the woman confesses the abortion, also known as reserved sin under the present discipline of the Church, to a bishop who can grant absolution himself or authorize a priest to absolve her.
Confession and the authority to grant absolution also greatly enhanced the power of the priest.
--Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, explaining why the Vatican decided to release the outcome of a "tribunal of conscience," a previously secretive review of clerical sins so grave only the pope can grant absolution (Associated Press, Jan.
The tribunal, which had been formed by Pope Alexander III in 1179, has never before divulged details of the cases it scrutinizes, cases that were considered so heinous by the Catholic Church that only the Pope can grant absolution to the perpetrator.
Martin Luther proclaimed that theologically: "A Christian man is a perfectly free lord, subject to none." This was a searing departure from Catholicism where priests grant absolution from sin.
Discipline ranged from the refusal to grant absolution to complete exclusion from the church.
However, he said, not all priests have the authority to grant absolution for those responsible for an abortion because it is considered a very "grave sin," similar to physically attacking the Pope, or desecrating the consecrated host and wine, which Catholics believe are the body and blood of Jesus Christ.