[Excerpt] The Apostolic Letter, “Misericordia et Misera,” officially concluded the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. In a certain sense, the publication of the letter also inaugurated a new phase of Pope Francis’s pontificate.
The Church’s bishops are to some extent victims of these decisions of Pope Francis. Their prerogative to decide if and how to absolve a sin that leads to excommunication, like abortion, was effectively contravened, while some canon law experts are already discussing whether abortion should still result in the excommunication of the sinner.
Bishops were also circumvented by the extension of the sacramental faculties of the Missionaries of Mercy, whose mandate in fact touches that of the Apostolic Penitentiery. The five sins reserved to the Apostolic See are: profanation of the Eucharistic species; a priest’s attempt to absolve an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment; a priest’s violation of the sacramental seal of confession; a bishop’s consecration of a bishop without the Pope’s authorization; physical violence against the person of the Pope.
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