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Archbishop Offers Absolution to Those Who Have Had Abortions

September 06, 1986|Associated Press

MIAMI — Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy issued a pastoral letter Friday offering absolution to people who have had abortions or assisted in performing them.

The proposal to give priests the power to absolve, or forgive, those who have participated in an abortion is part of a wide-ranging jubilee plan to coincide with a 1987 visit by Pope John Paul II to southern Florida.

The archbishop could not be reached for comment on the letter, but his auxiliary bishop, Augustin A. Roman, told the Miami Herald that the move is "unusual and quite important."

The absolution will be offered in the sacrament of reconciliation, which includes confession and penance. The special services will be held on the first Friday of each month, according to the proposal mapped out in the letter.

McCarthy's archdiocese includes Dade, Broward and Monroe counties, an area with 1.1 million Catholics. The letter said he hopes the actions will prompt inactive Catholics to return to the church.

"This is our attempt to have outreach and reconciliation among" the inactive Catholics, said the Very Rev. Gerard T. LaCerra, chancellor of the archdiocese.

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