September 01, 2015
For immediate release
God is Ready to Forgive and Heal Now!
The following is a statement from Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger regarding Pope Francis’s announcement, Sept. 1, 2015, that, in conjunction with the Holy Year of Mercy, he will allow priests worldwide to lift the sanction of excommunication due to abortion:
While we welcome today’s news that Pope Francis will allow priests worldwide to remove the sanction of excommunication from women confessing the sin of abortion during the Holy Year of Mercy and welcome back into the Church countless women who bear the emotional and spiritual scars of this tragedy, the real news is that there is no need to wait. God is ready to forgive and heal now!
Priests throughout the world can absolve from the grave sin itself. The priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and throughout the United States have also had the faculties to lift the sanction of excommunication for the sin of abortion for more than 30 years. Any woman who has had an abortion, any person who has been involved in an abortion in any way, can always seek God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, if they are truly sorry for their actions. We encourage all who have suffered the pain of separation from the Church to do just that today. Don’t wait for the start of the Holy Year.
This is a wonderful pastoral gesture on the part of the pope that should remind each one of us of the extent of God’s mercy.