Pope Francis on Monday has given priests a permanent right to forgive abortion. He said “I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion,” as he wrote in an apostolic letter marking the end of the “Year of Mercy”, which ended on Sunday.
Saying that the right which was originally for this year of Jubilee is been extended till the end of reign. As he stated “The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended,”
The Pope seeing how terrible this sin is, said I “restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life” and at such this “horrendous crime” must meet God’s mercy for a repentant heart.
“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,” As He declared in the letter.
“May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.”
A Vatican expert John Allen wrote that “The concession on abortion has had little practical effect in places such as the United States, where many bishops had already delegated permission to priests to forgive the sin,”
“With this initiative, Pope Francis recalls the seriousness of abortion and the extraordinary strength of divine mercy to cure all human wounds,” said Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, secretary general of the national conference of bishops.
The letter, entitled Misericordia et Misera (“Mercy and Misery”), was signed by Francis at the end of a mass closing the jubilee.
Critics have said his emphasis on mercy reduces the gravity of perceived sins, but the pope said rigidly sticking to “the level of the law is equivalent to thwarting faith and divine mercy”.