By Leslie Ann Aquino
Filipino Catholics in Borongan, Eastern Samar may now seek absolution from the grave sin of abortion from their priests.
Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez on Thursday has granted his priests the power to forgive those who have committed the sin of abortion.
“Please be informed that the Bishop has granted to all priests active in the diocese the ‘Faculty to Absolve the Grave Sin of Abortion’ starting today until Easter Sunday this year,” Father Neil Tenefrancia, chancellor of the Borongan diocese, said in a Bulletin dated March 21 addressed to all priests.
Two priests, however, were excluded from the said grant of faculty as they are newly ordained.
In the past, retired Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz explained that abortion is punishable by excommunication and the ones who can absolve a person is the bishop.
“This penalty of excommunication means that those who undergo the abortion, together with everybody who played an active role in the effective abortion, are separated from the prayers of the Church the world over,” he said.
During Holy Week, Cruz said the bishop may delegate the faculty to his priests during confession.
“The bishop can delegate this or that priest to absolve from excommunication for a given number of times. Let’s say three or five cases only,” he said.
The former head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said the limit is given to priests to give the bishop an idea as to how many are committing the act.
However, Cruz stressed that the granting of such faculty to priests is not a license for a person to commit such a grave sin.
“This provision is not to say that abortion is okay. It is only meant to say that the mercy of God is bigger than the sin of abortion,” he said.
In 2015, Pope Francis also gave all priests the power to forgive those who have committed the sin of abortion during the observance of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.