I will wear my old Catholic hat to respond to GL Tirebiter.
If I understand correctly, what GL is saying is that the Catholic church ("the Church", for us, with capital C) only has one rule regarding abortions, and that those rules are not being "toyed with", as I claim, now that the Pope is visiting Spain.
I realize that everyone has different points of view, and that they all deserve respect. I will start off by saying that, in my humble opinion, abortion is wrong most of the time. And I didn't come to that conclusion on the grounds the Church reached that conclusion. I just happen to think that there are horrible cases where an abortion is the humane solution, but there are also cases where the child is aborted because the mother is a callous person. Witness the girls who are aborted in India only because they are girls.
In GL's words,
The only difference is an administrative adjustment to accommodate the expected surge of penitents, nothing more.
I wonder why the Church would expect "a surge", not in "penitents", which has a specific meaning, but in the number of women coming to the confessional booth to ask forgiveness for having an abortion. I can speculate that, the crowds being so big in Madrid, your going to a confessional booth here, instead of your usual parish, gives you anonymity. I wonder how many of the posters of this forum ever grew knowing that Father so-and-so, who you came upon every so often, knew just how often you masturbated, who you had slept with, et cetera. Niccolo Machiavelli had a reason to say that we should always be on guard against priests, because they knew our sins, and they knew their own sins, as well. Don't believe me? Check "The Mandrake".
"Administrative adjustment" sounds like "interruption of pregnancy". I feel it's an euphemism for "change in the rules", just as "interruption of pregnancy" is an euphemism for "abortion". Now, whether this is an "adjustment" or not may not be material to the point in question, but, in my opinion again, maybe the "rule" isn't being changed, but the circumstances of its enforcement are being changed. And that matters.
In the words of GL Tirebiter,
She could get the same treatment at home: confession at any Catholic church she chooses for forgiveness of the sin, and lifting of the automatic excommunication for securing an abortion from the local bishop or from any priest to whom the bishop delegated that authority.
Why would a woman get "anonymous" treatment at the place where the Pope happens to need people to greet him? In my opinion, again, women are being hinted that a priest they may never ever run into again will be the only priest who will ever hear they had an abortion. And I feel this is the way that the Pope is trying to bring more people to his meeting.
I don't know what the procedure to lift excomunication on the grounds of abortion is. To a large extent, because I am a man, and so, fortunately for me, I can't have an abortion. I do know that the bishops aren't that easily reachable as it might seem they are. I do know that, if they are involved in a procedure, that is the same as taking the matter to the next administrative level.
Why is it that Your Friendly Local Priest cannot usually dispense forgiveness for abortion? Because the Pope is no fool, and everyone knows that, if anyone could give absolution for abortion, well, that is exactly what would happen. Everyone would get absolution for any number of abortions and the Church's condemnation of abortion would go the way of other "administrative arrangements" that everyone ignores. Like, say, this thing about not masturbating. Or lying.
The only "news" in Madrid is that hundreds of visiting priests have received that delegation for the duration of the event, to accommodate the great crowd present at the event.
And it is news indeed. Those priests don't usually have that authority. By the way, this "administrative arragement" didn't happen overnight. Just making room for that number of priests to move to Madrid for that time involved their leaving their own chores unattended. We are learning about it only now, but the Church has known about that for long.
Why did they even bother to say that they would forgive a woman who had an abortion if she went to see the Pope and confess there? Why didn't they follow the usual "administrative arrangement"?
If they had said that they would be granting divorces to people who went there, would that be just a change in "administrative arragements"?
I remember that one time, as I knelt at the confessional booth, one priest told me that he had no need to know what I had done. He had enough, he said, with my being there. Was I really sorry I had committed those sins? Yep. Well, off I could go, to sin no more. Oh, by the way, I had to think about Jesus' message by way of penance. Would abortion ever be forgiven this way?