Fort Smith Priest Embraces Pope’s Abortion Announcement

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)—The Catholic Church’s “Holy Year of Mercy” ended with a big announcement: On Monday (Nov. 21), Pope Francis announced Catholic priests can permanently forgive abortions.

“I'm excited about it because I think the Holy Spirit is guiding Pope Francis, just as he has guided the church," said Father John Antony. "I think we should all rejoice with this news.”

Fr. Antony has been at Immaculate Conception in Fort Smith for three years. He said in most of the United States, bishops already granted their priests the authority to forgive an abortion. However that wasn’t the case across the world.

“It is what's called a reserved sin,” Fr. Antony said. "In order to be forgiven of that particular sin, you had to actually go to the bishop to go to confession."

While many have called Pope Francis a progressive pope, Fr. Antony said the church is always moving forward.

“I think each pope brings out a new facet of the church's teaching, and her life and her ministry and her mission,” Fr. Antony said.

He said Pope John Paul II spoke often about marriage. Pope Benedict talked about the liturgy and the glory of going to mass.

“So now, Pope Francis is emphasizing another aspect of Catholic teaching, which is mercy,” he said.

Pope Francis has been criticized by more conservative Catholics.

“The pope is not creating a new church,” Fr. Antony said. “He is part of a 2,000-year history of the Catholic faith that has grown over the centuries, and we believe guided by the Holy Spirit.”

Pope Francis still stressed the church’s stance on abortion hasn’t changed, calling it a “grave sin.”

“Abortion is seriously wrong has been a teaching from the beginning and continues to be today, so it's not really surprising,” Fr. Antony said.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that every human life “from the moment of conception until death is sacred” — and that any Catholic who procures an abortion incurs automatic excommunication, a penalty that often only a bishop can lift.

However, as Fr. Antony said, Pope Francis called for mercy in his announcement on Monday.

“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,” Francis said.



  • Benny Hill

    So when does this pope say it’s okay for priests to marry? Once that happens, then what’s the point of a Catholic church? They’ll practically become baptists.

    • tasdgs

      He hasn’t lifted the ban on clerical celibacy. Also, there are married priests in the Catholic Church. If a Protestant minister joins the Catholic Church he can petition the Vatican allow him to be ordained to the priesthood even though he is married. We have about 3 priests, right now, in the Little Rock Diocese that fall into that category.

  • wesm6

    So, when was man given the ability to forgive sin? I thought only the Father could do that. And, aren’t we also told to call no one father, except our Father above?

    • tasdgs

      In answer to your first question, Jesus Christ gave man the ability to do this(John 22:22-23). In answer to your second question, Our Lord was referring to the hypocritical Pharisees when He said “call no man, father.” We see where Paul called himself a “father”(1Cor 4:14-15) and we also see Stephen calling the Jewish leaders ‘father” (Acts 7:2).

      • wesm6

        In Acts 7:2, they are speaking about Abraham. If memory serves, Abraham was called father in the context of being the father of the nation. Over in 1Cor.4:14-15; Paul does not call himself father. In red letter, Matthew 23:9, “Do not call anyone on earth your father, for One is your Father. He who is in heaven.” Jesus said, “rise and walk, your sins are forgiven.” Which is greater? To say, rise and walk or your sins are forgiven? The priests, do not forgive sin, only God above can.

      • tasdgs

        Here is Acts 7:2 from the KJV, [2] And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,
        We see that Stephen is speaking to the Jewish leaders,in the first part of the statement, and then he refers to Abraham as “father.” In 1 Cor. 4, Paul made mention that he had begotten them and that he called them sons. If that is the case then that would make him a father in a spiritual sense. Since this is the case then does the Scripture contradict itself? It is true that God forgives sins but He also gave the power to forgive sins to His Apostles as well(John 22:22-23)…the first Bishops of the Church.

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