Pope extends permission for priests to forgive abortions

Special permission was given as part of the Roman Catholic Church's Holy Year of Mercy

Vatican Pope
Pope Francis arrives in St.Peter's Square to attend his weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Pope Francis is empowering Catholic priests to forgive abortion. The pontiff extended the powers in an apostolic letter on Monday. The announcement continues a special permission he had granted last year for the duration of the Holy Year of Mercy, which ended Sunday.

Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski told 22News that mercy has been a running theme during the Francis papacy. “Mercy is an important part of the church. It’s an important work of the church,” Rozanski explained. “It’s what Jesus has mandated us to bring into the world. Jesus showed mercy to all of those who came to him as sinners and who sought forgiveness.”

The Church’s stance on abortion has not changed; it is still viewed as a “grave sin.” But the pope’s announcement makes it easier for women who’ve had abortions to be absolved for their actions, and rejoin the Church.