Father’s Column 9/13

Posted on September 13, 2015 View all news

Laudetur Jesus Christus!
Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Praised be Jesus Christ!

One thing the media loves to do is report on news that isn’t news. We see this very often these days when it comes to news about Pope Francis, as they try to draw contrasts between him and his predecessors. They portray Pope Francis as the nice pope, while his immediate predecessors were mean.

This is unfortunate, because each pope has something to offer to the Church, having been called to that position by Christ Himself. We saw this contrast recently in news regarding Pope Francis’ initiative for the ‘Year of Mercy’ that he has called to begin on December 8. Certainly a laudable effort, in which he is seeking to call people to conversion and a return to the Sacrament of Penance.

In particular, he has extended to all priests the faculty, or the ability, to absolve the crime of abortion. In the Church, abortion is seen as such a terrible act, that it carries not only the guilt of sin, but also the penalty of excommunication, provided certain criteria is met. In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, priests have had this faculty from the Archbishop for many years. Many priests across the globe have had the ability to do this, since abortion has become so common in culture. What the Pope has done is extended this ability to priests whose bishops had not yet conceded this ability to.

Archbishop Schnurr asked that the priests of the Archdiocese make this known to the faithful, so that those who have confessed this sin previously can rest assured that their confessions were valid, and that they are indeed reconciled to God and the Church.

May God Bless you in the week ahead!


“Much of the news coverage about Pope Francis extending to all priests the faculty to absolve the sin of abortion and remove the automatic excommunication that can incur has been misleading and confusing.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati wants to make it clear that our priests have already had this faculty for many years. No one who has received absolution for this sin from a priest of the Archdiocese, acting as the instrument of God’s mercy, should doubt the validity of the sacrament.

No priest can engage in sacramental ministry without being granted faculties to do so by the local bishop. What is included in those faculties is detailed in writing. Priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as permitted by canon law, have long been granted by the Archbishop “the faculty to absolve the sin (of abortion) and to remit the (automatic) penalty” of excommunication.” – Most. Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati