The Catholic Church has a longstanding reputation of opposing homosexuality, contraception and abortion. Though Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his views that condoms are making the spread of AIDS worse, during his visit to Madrid, he gave priests permission to lift excommunication for women who confess to having an abortion.
Say what? So while I am not Catholic, I’ll save you the Googling and explain the sitch to you as best I can. Under normal circumstances only certain priests are allowed to lift excommunication (aka getting kicked out of the church) for women who have had abortions. From last Tuesday to Sunday, 200 booths were set up in the Madrid park as part of World Youth Day 2011 events. For a full six-days women who have undergone abortions, as well as men who have pressured women to have abortions, were being forgiven.
Those who traveled to Madrid to confess were forgiven, for just the cost of a plane ticket. The allowance of priests to forgo excommunication as a result of abortion was not extended to the US, where a 28 per cent of women seeking abortion identify as Catholic. An article in The Guardian suggests dropping attendance rates in European churches, is an attempt to reach out to young people and bring people back to the church.
While the local diocese occupied the 200 booths in the Madrid, the Pope himself heard confessions from just three individuals during the celebration.