Spanish priest avoids excommunication despite paying for an abortion

religion | Apr 19, 2011 | By Martin Barillas

The Archdiocese of Barcelona has announced that it has no plans to excommunicate Rev. Manuel Pousa i Engroñat, having found that the Catholic priest had not had any “primary complicity” in an abortion performed on a young woman. This was despite the Spanish priest’s autobiography in which he recounts that he had actually paid for the procedure.

Known as ‘Pare Manel’ (Father Manuel, in his native Catalonian), the priest was called to book by the diocese following the publication of a book entitled Padre Manel: Closer to earth than heaven, which consists of the results of interviews with the journalist, Francesc Bouxeda. He has served more than 30 years among the poor of the Nou Barris district of Barcelona. In the book, he recalls that he paid for a young woman’s abortion, allegedly so as to avoid putting her life at risk.

Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach, upon learning of the revelations, directed that a canonical law inquiry be made into the matter by diocesan judicial vicars, Rev. Xavier Bastida and Rev. Juan Benito, as well as a member of the ecclesiastical tribunal, Rev. Ramon Batlle.

On April 18, released a communiqué that noted the tribunal’s finding that “Rev. Manuel Pousa i Engroñat does not appear to have incurred a canonical punishment,” as established by Canon 1398 of the Canon Law of the Catholic Church. The article in question establishes that anyone who procures an abortion incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication. The statement from the diocese also reiterated that the well-known priest “always exercises his work of service to the poorest and most marginalized in accordance with the teachings of the Church and its social doctrine and with respect for all human life.”

The diocesan statement also alluded to the priest’s revelations that he lives with woman with whom he alleges not to have sexual relations. Rev. Pousa said in the book that he decided to pay for the abovementioned abortion after learning that another girl had bled to death following a clandestine abortion.



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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