When Pope Paul VI of tragic memory was preparing to inflict upon the Church his Novus Ordo Missae permanently in 1968 he and his advisers made a very smart move. To tamp down or eliminate the firestorm of protest that they knew would come by the illegal suppression of the Ancient Rite they created as it were a preemptive strike to gain worldwide sympathy for them, thus blunting the reaction against the suppression of a Rite organically developed from the time of Christ.
That preemptive strike was the issuance of Humanae Vitae. In issuing this encyclical worldwide respect and admiration for the Holy See jumped to the high heights virtually guaranteeing that any criticism of future papal actions would be minimal. Cynically, they never intended to enforce the encyclical as was immediately evident when prominent Churchmen and priests publicly decried it and subsequently ignored it, confident in the knowledge that Rome would never take them to task. But the impression made upon Catholic minds was the important thing, and Pope Paul was regarded thenceforth as a hero - even while he, without fanfare, connived to bring about the most egregious abuse of episcopal power in all Church history, namely: the "abolishing" of the holiest thing on earth, the Mass of all time.
This two-step "dance" has been a Vatican favorite for five decades now and almost every time it has worked like a charm. John Paul II was a great practitioner of this subterfuge. First the faithful are lulled by a benevolent, sensible papal speech, encyclical or action and then promptly knifed in the back by the drivers of the real agenda. Thus, following some wonderful words from Rome we would get Assisi, or craven apologies to Christ's enemies for the "evils" the Catholic Church has inflicted, or the installation of terrible men to high positions. Every Pope since Paul VI has been doing this, if we want to honestly admit it.
This strategy is now being trotted out again - and then some - by the current regime. After a number of benevolent gestures toward the Society of St Pius X, the Pope has now minimized the atrocious crime of abortion, downplaying its seriousness not only in clumsy papal interviews but by making it "easier" to be forgiven for this crime. In what many call an act of mercy, the Pope has granted all priests the faculty of forgiving this mortal sin rather than the extremely solemn, dreadful meeting with a Bishop. The fact that the forgiveness of this abominable act was left to the hierarchy underlined and emphasized its awful seriousness. Now one can go to Confession - or what passes for Confession these days - and chat up the priest about not helping out the wife enough with family chores or losing one's impatience over the misdemeanors of the kids. Imagine Mom in the Confessional (sorry, "reconciliation room"!) reciting a few minor offenses and then saying, "Oh by the way, I also had an abortion." Your average priest today, sadly, will slough it off as just another offense, maybe adding a few not-too-stern words, and then giving her the Three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys penance. Yes, of course she will receive absolution (provided the priest does his job) but isn't the gravity of the offense sort of minimized by this approach?
Not so, according to Msgr Fisichella who explains in this article from Vatican Insider.
The Pope’s decision to make the ability of priests to absolve the “grave sin” of abortion permanent, means Canon Law is to be updated too. Francis had granted priests this power as an exception during the Jubilee Year. The man in charge of co-ordinating the Holy Year of Mercy, Mgr. Rino Fisichella, explained this in his presentation of the pastoral letter “Misericordia et Misera”, with which Francis concluded the Jubilee that ran from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016.
“Canon Law currently stipulates that absolution for the sin of abortion is a faculty that lies with the bishop of the diocese concerned and in some instances, the bishop may delegate some or all priests in his diocese to absolve this sin,” explained the President of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation. “During the Jubilee, Pope Francis had granted all priests the power to absolve this sin, as a concrete sign that God’s mercy is boundless. Therefore, even people who commit this sin – which the Pope reiterates, is extremely grave – will have no trouble obtaining God’s forgiveness if they are repentant. Canon Law is a body of laws and whenever the Pope introduces a measure that alters the dictates of the law, the article that specific measure concerns, necessarily needs to be changed”. More specifically, Fisichella explained, responding to journalists questions, “a latae sententiae excommunication is revoked”. The provision, Fisichella added, does not only apply to women but also to “doctors, nurses and those involved in carrying out the abortion”, as long as they repent: “The sin applies to everyone, so forgiveness of this sin also applies to everyone practically involved.”
But isn’t the Pope concerned about the criticisms? “I don’t see why granting the faculty of absolution for a sin like this to priests, who are ministers of reconciliation and forgiveness, should give cause for any concern,”
Well, it concerns many of us, Monsignor.
It is gratifying to hear from Msgr Fisichella that the Pope considers abortion a "grave sin". I wonder, though, if he has considered that making it much easier to be absolved from it (similar to his desire to see marriages dissolved also much easier) he hasn't trivialized it somewhat. I don't know. I have long given up trying to decipher what is in Pope Francis' mind.
Thanks to the poor job of catechizing the Church has been doing since the late 19th century too many Catholics really have no idea of the nature of sinfulness, and this ignorance plays well with the program of the revolutionaries. The notion of sin for many has become a dead letter not only to the people in the pew but far too many priests. And Bishops, too. Moreover, when was the last time you heard someone in the Vatican use the words "mortal sin"? We have become essentially protestantized: "yeah, I guess sin does exist, but we're pretty much forgiven so I'm not going to lose a whole lot of sleep over it". Ergo, Confession is a minority taste in today's merciful Church where in some parishes there is not even a regular time set aside for the Sacrament of Penance.
The Pope shows kindness of a sort to the SSPX and then drops this bomb. In his own mind he may sincerely believe he has done well. But we must never forget that Bergoglio, too, is one of the Great Uncatechized.
There is nothing new under the sun especially in a Rome deeply infected with Modernism. Prudence therefore demands that the next time a kindly papal gesture is offered to long-suffering Catholics we should hang on for dear life, for the stiletto cannot be far behind.