Vatican City: Pope Francis, making permanent a temporary measure put in place for the Vatican’s jubilee year, declared yesterday that all priests would have the right to forgive abortion.
“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 pope wrote in an apostolic letter, marking the end of the “Year of Mercy”, which wound up yesterday.
“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,” he wrote.
The 79-year-old said he had to “restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life”.
On Sunday, as he brought the jubilee to an end by closing the bronze-panelled Holy Door in Saint Peter’s Square, Francis gave an interview in which he slammed abortion as “a horrendous crime”.
But yesterday he said the end of the special year did not mean the end of mercy itself, and so-called sinners must be given a chance to repent.
“I must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy can’t reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart...,” he said in the letter.