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Diocese of Gaylord Reacts to Announcement by Pope Francis

A historic announcement from the Vatican.

Pope Francis, giving priests around the world permission to forgive abortions.

In the eyes of the church abortion is considered a "moral evil."

In a document made public today, Pope Francis wrote

"I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. However, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away."

“I think he’s got his finger on something that is so basic because it goes beyond even being specifically Catholic, it’s looking at the humanity of the individual made in the image and likeness of God,” said Bishop Steven Raica of the Diocese of Gaylord.

In the past, in some parts of the world, not all priests were granted permission to forgive abortions. Priests in the United States have had permission for several decades. The Diocese of Gaylord also runs an abortion healing ministry for men and woman known as Rachel’s Vineyard.

“I think it’s really significant that we offer this opportunity, it’s not something that is just sort of I’ve done. There’s something much deeper that goes on in a person’s heart that seeks to find that way forward

Bishop Raica says this move by Pope Francis carries on the Pope’s core message of mercy.

“We’re looking at such tremendous opportunities that he’s given us to say, look beyond the surface and let’s go deep, and know that there is a wound in each one of us that somehow is being called to be healed and to be lifted up and to be brothers and sisters together,” said Raica. 

Below is information on Rachel’s Vineyard. 

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat

What: “A safe place to renew, rebuild

& redeem hearts broken by abortion”

Who: Anyone impacted by an abortion; men and women from all denominations are welcome

Contacts: Kristyn Lent, ,  or Jane O’Brien, , 


Crisis Pregnancy Help in the Diocese of Gaylord
Contact Catholic Human Services main offices in Traverse City,   or Alpena,  for assistance throughout northern Lower Michigan or visit  for more information and a full list of office locations.

In addition, help is available from these local organizations:

Alpena: Child & Family Services of NE Michigan, 

Cadillac: Life Resources of Northern Michigan, 

Cheboygan: AA Crisis Pregnancy Center, 

Gaylord: New Life Pregnancy Resource Center, 

Petoskey: Community Support, 

Traverse City: Child & Family Services, 

West Branch: West Branch Crisis Pregnancy Center, 

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