According to the Guardian newspaper, the Pope Francis should be begging forgiveness from women for the Church’s “hard line” opposition to abortion, rather than offering forgiveness to women who have aborted their children.
In an angry essay, Guardian writer Joanna Moorhead says that Pope Francis’ latest move to allow all priests in the Church to absolve the sin of abortion simply shows “how out of step the leaders of the Catholic church are.”
Moorhead wrote that the Pope’s putative gesture of mercy drew an “outcry” from many people in the west who “were outraged that abortion is perceived as sinful.”
In a recent letter, Pope Francis emphasized God’s power to forgive even the most serious sins, but also underscored that abortion constitutes a great evil.
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” he wrote in the new letter Misericordia et Misera. “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”
Earlier this week, Francis used particularly blunt language to describe the evil of abortion, calling it both a “horrendous crime” and a “very grave sin.”
In an attempt to turn the tables on the Catholic Church, Moorhead asserts that Church leaders should be begging women for forgiveness for the Church’s “deep-seated sexism, a failure to include women properly in Catholicism’s power structures, and an inability to properly represent women or their concerns and viewpoint at almost any Vatican event.”
Rome is “a pretty depressing place for a feminist Catholic,” she laments.
Despite her indignation over the Pope’s latest move, Moorhead does concede that “he is nonetheless taking baby steps in the right direction.”
To his credit, Moorhead acknowledges, Pope Francis is willing to admit “that life is messy” and that “perfection is not a typical human trait.”
Still, no pope in history—including Francis—has “put women at the top of his agenda,” Moorhead complains. The Pope’s unwillingness to put women’s desires ahead of the lives of unborn children seems particularly irksome to her.
Until the Pope is willing to sacrifice the unborn on the altar of women’s “reproductive rights,” Moorhead suggests, he will just be another patriarchal charlatan posing as a reformer.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter: @tdwilliamsrome