In an apostolic letter released on Monday, Pope Francis indefinitely granted all Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion.
The Pope made his remarks at the end of the Catholic Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy. During this period, he had temporarily granted priests the power – reserved for bishops or special confessors – to forgive abortion.
Pope Francis, in his letter, looks to now extend the provision indefinitely or at least for the rest of his papacy.
The Catholic Church has forever believed that abortion is a moral evil. The teachings of the church say that every human life “from the moment of conception until death is sacred”.
Automatic excommunication is given to any catholic who procures an abortion; a punishment in which only bishops could absolve.
Pope Francis still maintains that ”abortion is a grave sin” because it takes away life but reminded Catholics that there is no sin God can’t forgive.
“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 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.
“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.”
This power extended to priests to forgive abortion continues the theme message of the Pope Francis’ papacy which requires that the doors of the Church must remain open, as God’s forgiveness and mercy extends to all who repent.