Responding to Pope Francis’ announcement that during the upcoming “Year of Mercy” all priests would be empowered to forgive women who have had abortions and return them to full communion with the Catholic Church, the National Coalition of American Nuns said that Francis “still doesn’t get it” when it comes to women and abortion.
In a statement, NCAN acknowledged the “Pope’s desire to be pastoral” and said that “making any statement about abortion might seem to be helpful.” However, Sister Donna Quinn of NCAN told The Independent that Francis “gets it within the Vatican sense and about the hierarchy, but he still won’t let women have full membership with the Catholic tradition.”
NCAN said “women do not find this new ruling very affirming” for the following reasons:
- It does not respect the moral authority women have in making decisions for their own reproductive autonomy.
- It still holds those decisions made by women as sinful.
- It does not acknowledge that sperm from males produced these unplanned pregnancies.
- It only serves to highlight the fact that women should be eligible for all sacraments.
- It continues the practice of men proclaiming what is right and just for women.
NCAN invited Pope Francis to meet with them “to see how we might help each other with Justice issues for women.”
This isn’t the first time that NCAN has openly challenged the hierarchy on issues of reproductive justice. The group spoke out in favor of access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act as suits backed by the U.S. bishops against the contraceptive mandate headed to the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases.