Pope Francis extends Catholic priests’ power to forgive abortion

Chidi Samuel with agency reports

Pope Francis has extended indefinitely the power of Catholic priests to forgive abortions. The Pope made the pronouncement in an apostolic letter released Monday.

The move is widely seen as a continuation of a special dispensation granted last year for the duration of the Year of Mercy — which finished Sunday — which gave all priests, rather than just bishops and specially designated confessors, the power to absolve the sin of abortion.
The decision remains in line with the prevailing theme of Pope Francis papacy: That the doors of the Church must remain open, just as God’s forgiveness and mercy extend to all those who repent from sin.
That said, the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion has not changed — it is still viewed as a “grave sin.” But it makes it easier for women who have had abortions to be absolved for their actions, and rejoin the church.
“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.”
The letter continues: “May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.
“I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”
Pope Francis stance represents a significant departure from the traditional catholic view of Abortion which describes abortion as murder.
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