The Roman Catholic leader, Pope Francis on Monday through an apostolic letter extended indefinitely the power of Catholic priests to forgive abortion sins.
Pope Francis has given all priests the power to forgive women who have had an abortion, saying arbotion is a grave sin but one that God’s mercy could wipe away for those with a repentant heart.
Since the first century, the Catholic Church has held that abortion is a moral evil in the eyes of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that every human life “from the moment of conception until death is sacred” and that any Catholic who procures an abortion incurs automatic excommunication, a penalty that often only a bishop could lift.
“May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation”.
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. 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”, said part of his letter.
“I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion”, he concluded.
This development continues a special dispensation granted last year for the duration of the Year of Mercy which finished on Sunday which gave all priests, rather than just Bishops and specially designated confessors, the power to absolve the sin of abortion.
Before the Year of Mercy , abortion was in a class of sins considered crimes which required a higher authority than a priest to absolve . A woman might have to confess her sin to a bishop rather than her parish priest .