In an apostolic letter published on Monday, the Pope underlined that the Catholic Church needs to bring reconciliation back to “its central place in the Christian life.” The measure is said to be temporary.
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” explained the Pope. “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.
Having said that, the Pontiff also wrote: “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 added that “the provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary.”
In the Catholic faith, abortion is a moral evil and those who procure it are automatically excommunicated from the church, forbidden from obtaining sacraments such as reconciliation, or absolution for sins committed. or that was the case before now. So in granting priests permission to forgive abortion, the Catholic Church is effectively removing an “obstacle” between a Catholic's “request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness.”
Francis went on to encourage others to be merciful, because no one is spared suffering, pain and misunderstanding.”