Abortion is a big no-no in the Catholic church — but not from Tuesday until this Sunday. The Vatican is offering forgiveness to women who’ve had abortions during a six day-long World Youth Day prayer event in Madrid, which will bring 1.5 million pilgrims from all over the world. Catholic women who have had an abortion (and in the U.S., that will be four in 10 of us in our lifetime —UPDATE: to clarify, four out of 10 unintended pregnancies end in abortion while two in ten of all pregnancies end in abortion. Thanks to commenter @MrsG for pointing this out. I apologize for the error.) can confess and supposedly be spared excommunication; women who’ve been excommunicated for the sin of abortion will be welcomed back into the church. According to Pope Benedict XVI’s spokesman, only select priests have the power to lift excommunication, but for the World Youth Day event, all priests taking confession can do it. Women can confess at one of 100 concession booths set up in a public park in Madrid. (The Pope himself will only hear the confessions of three visitors, but will hold a mass.)
Could amnesty for having terminated a pregnancy be a sign that the Catholic Church is liberalizing a bit? Maybe, but maybe not. The Pope is also expected to speak out against same-sex marriage.
Frisky readers who identify, or have identified, as Catholics, please weigh in.