Dear Commons Community,
Various media are reporting that Pope Francis will give all priests discretion to formally forgive women who have had abortions during the Roman Catholic Church’s upcoming Holy Year.
In Church teaching, abortion is such a grave sin that those who procure or perform it incur an automatic excommunication. Usually only designated clergy and missionaries can formally forgive abortions.
But from Dec.8 to Nov. 26, during an extraordinary Holy Year or “Jubilee” on the theme of mercy announced by Pope Francis in March, all priests will be able to do so, he said in a letter published on Tuesday by the Vatican.
In the letter, Francis described the “existential and moral ordeal” faced by women who have terminated pregnancies and said he had “met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision”.
For Roman Catholics this is a mega-change in church-teaching. God bless Pope Francis for the way he has been reaching out to many Catholics whether gay, divorced, or have had abortions and opening up possibilities for them to participate in the sacraments.