Pope Fran­cis: Abor­tion is for­giv­able

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Vatican: Pope Fran­cis has de­clared that priests have the per­ma­nent right from now on to for­give abor­tions. His re­marks come at the end of the Catholic Church’s ju­bilee year dur­ing which he had tem­po­rar­ily granted priests this power.

In an Apos­tolic let­ter the pon­tiff also re­stated that abor­tion was a “grave sin” which ended “in­no­cent life”. Catholics who have or per­form an abor­tion can be im­me­di­ately ex­com­mu­ni­cated from the Church. A Vatican spokesman con­firmed that “there is no type of lax­ness here” re­gard­ing the Church’s po­si­tion on the moral­ity of abor­tion, but that the power given to priests meant God’s mercy could cover all sin. “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],” Pope Fran­cis said. “Mercy can­not be­come a mere paren­the­sis in the life of the church; it con­sti­tutes her very ex­is­tence.

“May ev­ery priest, there­fore, be a guide, sup­port and com­fort to pen­i­tents on this jour­ney of spe­cial rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.” Ex­perts say that al­though the dec­la­ra­tion may not have a prac­ti­cal im­pact, it is a shift in the Church’s tra­di­tional ap­proach to abor­tion. BBC

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