The Catholic Church initially approaches claims of miracles with skepticism, as anyone should. Miracles aren't declared as authenitic until every other possible explanation has been considered and thoroughly investigated by professional experts (many of whom are not Catholics or even religious - they are often atheists). But if you refuse point blank to believe in miracles, no amount of evidence will ever be enough.
I myself have experienced two miracles, but if you are miracle-phobic, you will quickly dismiss them as delusion and nonsense.
quote:Last week he said that priests could forgive those who have had abortions - previously impossible.
If a woman (or an accomplice) confesses an abortion, an ordinary priest is not allowed to grant absolution, but has to ask the local bishop for permission as a means of emphasizing the evil of such sins. Reserved sins carry automatic excommunication, which means that the person is banned from all Catholic sacraments, including the sacrament of penance (confession). Church law says that when a woman has an abortion she and all those who aided her, including doctors, nurses and spouses, are automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
However in some countries, including the United States and Great Britain, for quite some time now the bishops of these countries, because of the great number of abortions, have given all priests permission to lift the excommunication immediately. So what the Holy Father has done, is extend this to all priests around the world one year which he has designated as a year of mercy.
quote: Many years ago it stopped being a 'sin' to eat meat on friday and it became a matter of 'conscience' whether a Catholic used birth control - but only in the educated West of course.
As far as I know, it was never a sin for a Catholic to eat meat on Friday - it was a "discipline" that the Church encouraged the faithful to follow, but wasn't a law.
As far as I know, it is a grave sin for any Catholic anywhere to use contraception.