The Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, has authorized priests who will be hearing confessions during World Youth Day to grant absolution to those who have undergone an abortion.
The Archdiocese of Madrid announced the special privilege, which priests can make use of Aug. 16 - 22, and said it has been adopted so that “all the faithful who attend the celebrations of World Youth Day can more easily access the fruits of divine grace, which opens the door to a new life for them.”
The Code of Canon law states in canon 1398 that a person who procures an abortion incurs automatic excommunication, which normally can only be lifted by the Pope, the bishops, and priests who have been given a special authorization.
Young people who confess the sin of abortion will be able to receive absolution on the condition that they are repentant and that complete an “appropriate penance.”
Confessions will be heard at 200 stations set up in Madrid’s central park at the “Festival of Forgiveness.” Nearly 2,000 priests will be on hand to make confessions available in seven languages.
Pope Benedict XVI will himself administer the sacrament to a group of young people on Saturday, Aug. 20.