Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
September 1st, 2015 by Joel Watts

Pope Francis… Grace above Law, but Law remains

Pope FrancisI would encourage the Pope to great his detractors by simply bowing low and drawing in the sand…

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe that they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

Source: Lettera del Santo Padre Francesco al Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per la Promozione della Nuova Evangelizzazione all’approssimarsi del Giubileo Straordinario della Misericordia

In reading this this morning, I was almost overcome — but I stopped myself because a grown man does not cry, unless Beaches is playing and he only does this once.

Read this closely. Read it again.

The Pope is not saying abortion is not a sin, only that there is always a means of grace with God — if you actually repent — and that no one should stand in your way.

Also, I detect some healing praxis here that is often not incorporated into our lives.

Grace does not mean the end of the Law, only that forgiveness reigns.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

2 Responses to “Pope Francis… Grace above Law, but Law remains”
  1. Pasor Keith Caldwell says

    God is Amazing! God is Wonderful!

  2. Know More Than I Should says

    The Pope’s remarks beg the question: Which is the greater sin — to bring unwanted life into this new world or to have an abortion? If not sin, then when choice is more honest — not that honesty much matters in religious discourse?

    Of course, bearing the fruits of unwanted procreation is not a problem men face. It is only for women. And, yet, men — especially those channeling the supposed wisdom of a particular Bronze Age Middle Easter deity — think themselves the only ones fit to answer the question.

    More interestingly, since Catholics, evangelicals, fundamentalists, and other crazies get all worked up over the rather novel notion of abortion as murder, why is is that no woman having confessed to having had a abortion has been charged with murder in a court of law?

    Furthermore, if fetuses really are people, how come they aren’t counted as such in the decennial Census? After all, even fractional persons such as antebellum slaves were counted for purposes of congressional apportionment before the War Between the States ended institutional slavery. So, why not fetuses?

    Rather obviously, the answers to all of the above questions can be summed up in the fact that ABORTION IS MURDER makes for a good propagandistic sound bite and little else. Much like save the whales, it is a rallying cry for a particular political persuasion.

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