The Pope Grants All Priests The Ability To Forgive Abortion

Pope Francis shocked the world again when making a huge announcement that ordinary priests will be [...]

Pope Francis shocked the world again when making a huge announcement that ordinary priests will be given the permission to absolve abortion, which remains a "grave sin" in the Catholic Church, without the intervention of a bishop.

The monumental change was first implemented temporarily as a part of the Catholic Church's "Year of Mercy," according to NPR.

Pope Francis
(Photo: Twitter / Pope Francis)

The Pope released a letter on Monday announcing that the change will be extended indefinitely.

"I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life," Pope Francis wrote. "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. 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 wrote.

The Associated Press explained how the process typically worked in the Catholic Church in absolving abortions. The AP said, "Because the Roman Catholic Church holds abortion to be such a serious sin, it had long put the matter of granting forgiveness for it in the hands of a bishop, who could either hear the woman's confession himself or delegate that to a priest who was expert in such situations."

In the United States, many bishops have granted the permission to the priests to absolve abortions. However, the change was made universal during the "Year of Mercy," which ended on Sunday.

At the time when the temporary announcement was made at the beginning of the "Year of Mercy" in December of 2015, Pope Francis said, "The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented."

The pope said that he was willing to extend the ability to absolve abortions, "lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God's forgiveness."

A professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame, Candida R. Moss told NPR, "Forgiveness has always been available — albeit through more formal channels." She continued by saying, "That message wasn't out there because the rhetoric that accompanies abortion is so elevated that it eclipses the Church's teaching on forgiveness and mercy."

Check out Pope Francis' full letter here.

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