Pope to allow all priests to forgive abortion

September 02, 2015 09:57
Pope Francis leads a prayer in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Tuesday as part of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Photo: AFP

Pope Francis is making it easier for women and doctors to seek forgiveness for abortion, by allowing all priests to forgive it, BBC News reported.

The Pope said many women who sought an abortion did so because they "believe that they have no other option".

He said he had "met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision".

The Catholic church views abortion as such a grave sin that it can punished with excommunication.

In most countries (Britain is one exception) only a bishop can approve forgiveness for abortion. He will then delegate an expert priest to hear the confession.

"I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to allow all priests for the Jubilee Year to absolve of the sin of abortion those who procure it and who also seek forgiveness," Francis said.

The Jubilee Year will run from Dec. 8 to Nov. 26 next year.

It normally takes place every 25 years.

The temporary relaxation of policy does not reflect a change in how the church views abortion.

Rather, it is in line with the Pope's message of showing mercy and compassion toward the sinner while condemning the sin.

Francis has previously denounced abortion as part of a "throw-away" culture.

"It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day," he said last year.

"Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as unnecessary," he said.

Earlier this year, the Pope said that although contraception remains forbidden, there was no need for people to breed "like rabbits" to be good Catholics.

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