• Italy edition
 
Pope calls for 'mercy' over abortion
Pope Francis was elected in March. Vicenzo Pinto/AFP

Pope calls for 'mercy' over abortion

Published: 20 Sep 2013 09:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Sep 2013 09:56 GMT+02:00

Speaking in an interview with Italian journal Civiltà Cattolica, published on Thursday, the Pope said a woman who goes to the confessional after having an abortion should be treated with mercy.

He described a woman with children who had an abortion during a previous failed marriage.

“The abortion is an enormous weight and a decision which she sincerely regrets. She would like to go forward with her Christian life. What can the confessional do?

“The confessional is not a torture room, but a place of mercy,” Pope Francis said, quoted in Corriere della Sera.

The Pope went further, criticizing the church for becoming “obsessed” over certain social issues.

“We cannot insist only on the issues of abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraception.

“A pastoral mission cannot be obsessed with transmitting disjoined messages on certain doctrines and imposing them persistently,” he said.

The blunt message will likely send shockwaves through the Catholic Church, which has in recent decades been sharply criticized for its intolerant approach to abortion, gay rights and contraception.

The comments are perhaps the boldest yet by Pope Francis, who was elected in March after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

In the first six months of his papacy the Argentine Pope has been praised by liberal Catholics for tackling issues over which some followers have felt alienated.

Earlier this month he called for a new approach to divorce. He has also said that gay people should not be judged, a far cry from the Catholic Church’s teaching of homosexuality as a sin. 

In July millions joined the Pope in Rio de Janeiro for an international youth festival, a sign that his fresh approach has repaired ties with young Catholics.

Don't want to miss a story about Italy? - Then join The Local Italy on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ebola outbreak
Child banned from Rome school over Ebola fears
The girl was stopped from going back to the school in Fiumicino, Rome province. School photo: Shutterstock

Child banned from Rome school over Ebola fears

A three-year-old girl has been banned from a school in Rome after a holiday to Uganda, over fears that she may have contracted the deadly Ebola disease present in other African countries. READ  

Soldier killed in Ottawa was Italian-Canadian
An Ottawa police officer stands guard near the National War Memorial in Ottawa where a soldier was shot on Wednesday. Photo: Mike Carroccetto/Getty Images North America/AFP

Soldier killed in Ottawa was Italian-Canadian

Nathan Cirillo, the soldier killed when a gunman stormed Parliament Hill in the Canadian capital of Ottawa on Wednesday, was of Italian origin, according to Italian news reports. READ  

Matteo Renzi denies Italy 'flunked' 2015 budget
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Italy has met its fiscal requirements. Photo: John Thys/AFP

Matteo Renzi denies Italy 'flunked' 2015 budget

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi rebutted a report on Wednesday that Italy’s budget is set to be “humiliatingly sanctioned” by Brussels. READ  

Immigration in Italy
Italy issues most permits in EU for family reasons
Ferries arriving in Genoa. The city is the first point of entry for many Moroccan citizens to Italy. Photo: Carlo Mirante/Flickr

Italy issues most permits in EU for family reasons

Italy last year granted more first-time residence permits to non-EU citizens for family reasons than any other EU country, a new report has revealed. READ  

Sport hero Cannavaro probed over €1m fraud
Fabio Cannavaro led Italy to glory in Germany in 2006. Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP

Sport hero Cannavaro probed over €1m fraud

UPDATED: Italy's World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro is being investigated on suspicion of running a sham company to avoid paying more than €1 million in tax, Italian authorities announced on Wednesday. READ  

Italy steps closer to EU budget warning
Sending Italy and France back to the drawing board would be unprecedented for the EU.EU photo: Shutterstock

Italy steps closer to EU budget warning

Italy and France moved a step closer on Wednesday to having their budgets humiliatingly sanctioned by Brussels, with four other countries also in the EU danger zone, a European source said. READ  

Woman suffers racist 'Ebola' attack in Rome
The woman was helped by a group of people waiting at a bus stop. Bus photo: Shutterstock

Woman suffers racist 'Ebola' attack in Rome

A Guinean woman has been attacked on a Rome bus and accused of having the deadly Ebola disease, which has recently hit West Africa, Italian media reported on Wednesday. READ  

VIDEO
Semi-clad tourists dance in priceless fountain
The six French tourists were fined €269 each for their Dolce Vita-style bathing session. Screengrab: YouTube/Анастасия Потапенко

Semi-clad tourists dance in priceless fountain

A group of French tourists have been fined after they were caught dancing semi-naked in a priceless fountain in Rome’s Monti district. The whole scene was caught on camera. READ  

Sweet treat for Pope in Swiss Guard recipe book
David Geisser, 24, joined the elite Vatican security corps a month ago. Photo: David Geisser

Sweet treat for Pope in Swiss Guard recipe book

From an Argentinian dessert that translates as "milk candy" to Polish ravioli, a member of Vatican's famed Swiss Guard on Tuesday unveiled a range of recipes of dishes favoured by popes. READ  

China brings business to crisis-hit Italy
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (L) speaks with China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang during the tenth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in October. Photo: Daniel Dal Zennaro/AFP

China brings business to crisis-hit Italy

Centuries after Marco Polo showed how it was done, Italy is once again knocking on China's door. But rather than Italians going to China, today's pioneers are Chinese entrepreneurs heading to Italy in search of a holistic remedy for its economic ailments. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Semi-clad tourists dance in priceless fountain
National
Singing nun picks Like a Virgin for debut album
National
Where's the best place to live in Italy?
National
Amorous Italian couple get stuck in frolic at sea
Culture
Test your Italian history with The Local's quiz
Travel
Top ten: Travel warnings for Italy
International
Revealed: The cost of home comforts in Italy
Health
Nurse 'killed 38 patients for being annoying'
Culture
Breaking Balsamic: See US writer's potent parody
Opinion
Is Italy a desirable place for foreigners to work?
Culture
Top ten: Things Italian mothers say
Society
Mayors vow to defy gay marriage registration ban
Travel
How well do you know Italy's geography?
National
Ten Italian 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
Italian student tipped to win British X-Factor
Business & Money
Italy ranked ninth most desirable place to work
Education
Why Milan uni's English switch opened minds
National
The small Sicilian town with nine centenarians
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
National
President's barber: €99k state snippers overpaid
National
Is Italy really a bad place to grow old?
Education
Pisa storms into global uni rankings
National
Unruly Italy is EU's most disobedient country
National
Italy among worst places in EU to grow old
Travel
Brit in bid to set Milan metro travel record
International
Marriage scam: 179 Italian couples claim to live in British mail box
Politics
Italy's state barbers' pay trimmed...to €99,000
Politics
eBay users snub Italy’s luxury official cars
National
Udder joy: Italian man is world's best cow-milker
Business & Money
Chinese fashion titans look to Italy for value
National
Clooney wedding 'good news for the Middle East'
National
QUIZ: Test your Italian language skills
Education
Italy top of the class for teaching English
National
Italians offered €30 a day to host a migrant
Tech
Azerbaijan beats Italy in internet stakes
Society
Marriage scrapped due to 'mummy's boy' husband
Politics
Italy separatists unfazed by Scotland's 'no'
Culture
Ten 'rude' Italian phrases you can get away with
Health
7,000 apply for two nursing jobs in Veneto
Education
Mother laments number of 'foreigners' at school
Health
One quarter of Italian teens has tried cannabis
Travel
American tourists caught with Pompeii relic
National
Seven whales stranded on Italian beach
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

671
jobs available