In an apostolic letter released Monday, Pope Francis has extended the power of Catholic priest to forgive abortions.
It continues from a special dispensation given last year for the Year of Mercy — which ended Sunday — which gave all priests, rather than singularly bishops, the power to absolve the sin of abortion.
Although the impact of his announcement is unclear at this point, his overall tone as pope remains that the all who repent from sin are welcome in the family of God. It is important to note, however, that the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion remains the same: that it is a “grave sin”.
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” the Pope’s letter states. “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”
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