The Archdiocese of Barcelona announced it has opened an inquiry to “verify” whether Fr. Manel Pousa incurred automatic excommunication when he paid for an abortion.
In the book, “Father Manel: Closer to the Earth than to Heaven,” which was released on Feb. 28, Fr. Manel says he previously “blessed” same-sex unions between prison inmates and that he supports “voluntary” celibacy and women priests.
He also admits that he paid for an abortion. Until now, he adds, his actions were only met with a warning from the Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach.
On March 8, the cardinal issued a brief statement summoning the priest to “speak personally with him about some of the content of this book and to make whatever decisions are appropriate.”
In the statement sent to CNA on March 15, the archdiocese said Cardinal Sistach, together with Barcelona's Auxiliary Bishop Sebastia Tatlavull and archdiocesan Chancellor Msgr. Sergi Gordo met with Fr. Manel on March 14 “concerning statements about abortion made by this priest in the book about him.”
“Since according to the Code of Canon Law, cooperation in an abortion carries the penalty of latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication, the code directs that procedures must be followed to verify the facts, and therefore this administrative procedure has been initiated,” the statement said.
The archdiocese added that the canonical procedures are not intended to reflect negatively on “the social work that this priest has carried out for many years in service to the neediest groups of our society.”