the secular atheist sees no reason or evidence for belief in a god or gods
The Secular Atheist

The pope declares that abortion can be forgiven

28 November 2016

It was reported this month that the Pope gave priests permission to forgive women who had had abortions. His declaration seems to have gone by almost unnoticed.

Anyone who thinks that having an abortion is an easy decision for a woman to make, has just not done their homework. The evidence is that most women agonise over the decision, and spend months sometimes years afterwards dealing with regret and guilt. Abortion is not a decision that women usually make lightly, in fact, quite the opposite. Frequently, the decision is made because of very difficult circumstances from poverty to bad health.

As an individual, the Pope is entitled to his view but to presume that he is a place to judge and forgive women who have made the incredibly difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy, seems supremely arrogant to me, even with god on his side, because it is simply impossible for him to know the circumstances that drove a women to such a big decision. Until he has a way of understanding the reasons and emotions in full that drove the woman to abort, the humane and rational response is to remain silent and suspend judgement. It may seem like a cliche but I think it is apt to say that until you have walked a mile in the person's shoes, you cannot judge them.

Then of course, the Catholic Church's obsession with abortion seems misplaced when it has yet to solve its problem with child abuse. As the leader of his religion, the Pope has yet to tackle the problem effectively and acknowledge the extent of its historical culpability. For example, the church has remained noticeably silent on Cardinal Pell and failed to act morally, sending him home to Australia to answer the questions about child abuse when he led the Australian Catholic Church. Instead, the Vatican remains silent on the matter, and allows Pell to hide in the Vatican behind being too ill to travel. The inaction regards Cardinal Pell undermines the church's right to speak on morality.

Sadly, Cardinal Pell is not an isolated incident. The news abounds with priests covering up and destroying evidence, and each time the Vatican either remains silent or obfuscates with a statement that fails to accept responsibility or admit guilt. The magnitude of the crime committed against children and the feeble response, removes any moral authority from the church to comment, at least, until it acknowledged the extent of its wrong doing, made reparations, and taken action to ensure it can never happen again. The response to date falls horribly short of what is necessary.

The pope's ruling reflects an arrogance that confirms how irrelevant the organisation is in determining what is right or wrong in our world. If it weren't a religious organisation, I am sure it would have been closed down and written off a long time ago.

About me

I describe myself as a secular atheist hence the name of the site. As an atheist, I am active in my opposition to religious privilege and intolerance especially when it comes to religion trying to enforce its values on all society such as the denial of equal rights for the LGBQT community and placing limits on women's reproductive rights.

I sometimes describe myself as a secular humanist because humanism matches my beliefs most closely. As a humanist, I am totally committed to human rights as defined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. I am proud to have been a member of the British Humanist Society for many years now.

Lastly, I am a parent, a husband, a teacher, a mentor, a friend, and a Bridge enthusiast (although not very good at it). I enjoy sharing my thoughts and ideas, and this site is one of my outlets to this end.

Thank you for visiting, and thank you for reading.


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