Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 21, 1934 when Father James J. Kane offered Madison's first Mass in Madison's Memorial Town Hall.
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In anticipation of the rapidly approaching Holy Year of Mercy, which begins on 8 December, Pope Francis recently granted that priest confessors throughout the world would be authorized to “absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it [abortion] and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”  The authorization is being given in the context of God’s Mercy, the overriding theme of the Jubilee Year.

Under existing Canon Law, abortion entails the penalty of excommunication. This is to state that anyone who willingly participates in an abortion – not only the woman involved – experiences excommunication latae sententiae (i.e, ipso facto, automatically) which normally can be removed by the local bishop or his delegate. Here, in the United States, however, most bishops have already granted their priests the faculty to remove the penalty, if it was incurred. What Pope Francis has done, as Supreme Pastor of the Church, would mean extending to all Catholic priests the authority to “absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”

Abortion is obviously a great tragedy, encompassing a number of victims; moreover, its severe effects are as enduring as they are profound. The Holy Father, while stressing as much, added  that he was acutely aware of women “who bear in their heart the scars of the procedure.” Yet, he added, “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.”

In an interesting conclusion, Pope Francis intends to extend the Church’s merciful outreach to “those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests of the Fraternity of St. Pius X,” while at the same time hoping that solutions may soon be found “to recover full communion” with priests of the aforesaid Fraternity. 

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.