Pope Francis indefinitely extends special permission on abortion, maintains it's a 'grave sin'

Pope Francis is allowing all priests to absolve women of the 'grave sin' of abortion, extending indefinitely special permission he had granted for the duration of the just-ended Holy Year of Mercy.

AP November 21, 2016 17:35:14 IST
Pope Francis indefinitely extends special permission on abortion, maintains it's a 'grave sin'

Vatican City: Pope Francis is allowing all priests to absolve women of the "grave sin" of abortion, extending indefinitely special permission he had granted for the duration of the just-ended Holy Year of Mercy.

Francis wrote in the Apostolic Letter made public by the Vatican on Monday 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 God.

But he also wrote: "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 indefinitely extends special permission on abortion maintains its a grave sin

Pope Francis. AFP

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.

But in 2015, Francis had said he was allowing all rank-and-file priests to grant absolution for an abortion for the duration of the Holy Year, which ran from 8 December, 2015 through 20 November, 2016.

By now letting all priests absolve the sin of abortion on a permanent basis following the end of the Holy Year, Francis is further applying his vision of a merciful church to those women who, as he has written in the past, felt they had no choice but to make "this agonising and painful decision."

"May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation" for faithful who had abortions, Francis wrote.

He explained his rationale thusly: "Lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God's forgiveness, 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 provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary."

How to form consciences on abortion figured in how bishops in the United States advised their flock during the recently ended US presidential election campaign.

Some pastors urged their congregations to keep the sacredness in life in mind when deciding which candidate would get their vote. The "sacredness of life" phrase is widely seen as referring to abortion. US President-elect Donald Trump voiced his opposition to abortion while campaigning, while his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, supported women's right to have an abortion.

Updated Date:

also read

Hometown Cha Cha actor Kim Seon Ho apologises to former girlfriend following abortion controversy
Entertainment

Hometown Cha Cha actor Kim Seon Ho apologises to former girlfriend following abortion controversy

Kim Seon Ho in his statement, apologised for his 'careless' and 'inconsiderate' actions towards the woman after an anonymous online post accused the actor of gaslighting and emotional abuse.

Don't send migrants rescued at sea back to Libya and 'inhumane' camps, says Pope Francis
World

Don't send migrants rescued at sea back to Libya and 'inhumane' camps, says Pope Francis

UN refugee agency officials and human rights organizations have long denounced the conditions of detention centers for migrants in Libya, citing practices of beatings, rape and other forms of torture and insufficient food

Ten-year-old boy tries to steal white cap of Pope Francis; watch viral video here
World

Ten-year-old boy tries to steal white cap of Pope Francis; watch viral video here

The little boy seemed to be amused by the Pope’s zucchetto - the white skull cap worn by him. The boy kept pointing at it till the officials present there took the hint and brought him a similar cap