Pope Francis has extended the power of all Catholic priests in the world to forgive abortion. The formal announcement was made this Monday, November 21 as part of the celebration of the Catholic Church’s Jubilee of Mercy, which started on December 8, 2015 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) until November 20, 2016 (Feast of Christ the King).
“I want to insist as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, because it puts an end to an innocent life. I can and I 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.” Pope Francis was quoted as saying via an apostolic letter posted at Vatican News website.
“It is the time of mercy because no sinner can ever tire of asking forgiveness, and all can feel the welcoming embrace of the Father.” The Holy See added, as he calls on to all Catholics to continue practicing new works of mercy, and to find new ways to give expression to the traditional works, as well as to be vigilant on attacks against human dignity.
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“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.” The pope said further, thus allowing women who have had abortions to be forgiven and to rejoin the church.
Pope Francis, who has been known to be humble and one of the most loved leaders of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world, made the same announcement last year during the start of the Extraordinary Jubilee. Back in 2000, the previous Holy Year for the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II also granted all Catholic priests the same power to forgive abortion.